Prompt #3: MUSIC
Music and travel memories often go hand in hand. A song can inspire our explorations, or it can take us back to a specific place and time. Tell us about your travel playlist and what it means to you.
Tours with the Genevans put me on an airplane for the first time, took me to Dublin and Disney World, and gave me the chance to see the country (and the world) right through the bus window– or more accurately– through Oliver’s head and the bus window. I’d estimate that I’ve sung at about 50 concerts, in 15 different states, 6 countries, and 3 continents.
All of that is to say that almost all of my traveling has been musical in nature. Here a quick tour of my top musical moments on the road. (In no particular order.)
Singing with the Taize Community– With minimal instrumentation, chanting, long silences for individual prayer and meditation, and no charismatic “frontman,” worship with the Taize is everything that people seem to think needs to be changed about church in order for it to be appealing, these days. And, yet, tens of thousands of young people from all around the world travel there to spend a week in their community.
(Had to take this photo from Wikipedia because all of my Taize pictures are being held captive on my old laptop.)
Driving Down Abbey Road- Why couldn’t we stop, bus-driver? WHY?
Didgeridoo– My first successful drone on a didgeridoo was SO cool. My Australia Studies Centre (ASC) classmates and I were spending a weekend in the “bush” for a more intensive study on Australian Aboriginal culture. Our Aboriginal teacher had a “source” for inexpensive, handmade-by-an-indigenous man didgeridoos (as opposed to the cheaply-made-in-china, marked- up-200% tourist ones in the city). Here we are by the train tracks (seriously) choosing our didgeridoos.
Bush Trip Campfire- I’m not sure how musical this moment really is, but this stands out to me as being an important bonding time for the ASC. On the bush trip, we were taught an Aboriginal song and sang it while we danced around the campfire. I even remember the song, but I will completely destroy the spelling if I tried to type it, so you’ll just have to trust me (or ask me to sing it to you in person, sometime). Dancing and singing around a campfire is nothing new or novel to me; but dancing and singing around a campfire, faces painted, giggling under foreign stars is something that I’ll always remember. (The gang signs are “W’s” for “Wallaby.”)
U2 in Sydney’s Olympic Park– This. Was. SO. GOOD.
Ceilidh- On our Europe tour, the Genevans were invited to a traditional Ceilidh (pronounced like Kay-lee). We performed, they performed, there was folk music and dancing and I don’t have a digital copy of those pictures, either. Sad.
Australian Idol- Please, let me explain. I have been known to be a diehard American Idol fan, and I will maintain that it has less to do with the actual show than it does with the fun of watching the show with other people– cheering for favorites, trash-talking, predicting what will happen the next week. When I think about it, I guess I enjoy Idol for the same reasons that I enjoy football. Community. Competition. Conversation starters. (I’m sure somebody is really judging me right now.) Anyway, my 4 roommates and our Aussie mum had very different schedules, and it was nice to know that we would all spend at least one hour a week together for Idol. And, it didn’t hurt that our favorite (Damien Leith) WON! (And I just found his third album on Spotify! Good on ya, Damo!)
Impromptu Concert at Red Rocks- When we traveled west, the Genevans stopped to check out Red Rocks Amphitheater and ended up singing a song or two to this audience…
Concerts, Concerts, Concerts- I had a laughing fit in a church on the Isle of Iona. I started crying while we sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” during a concert in Australia. (Granted, it was September 11, and I was at the peak of homesickness.) I got a nose bleed halfway through a concert in Colorado and had to step out until it quit. Our whole Aussie choir had a meltdown when the director asked us to put our music away for a song we didn’t have memorized. A lot of what I remember from all of my Genevans and W.I. Choir concerts are myself and one or two others (Oliver!) just trying to hold ourselves together until it was all over.