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As I’ve mentioned before, I love music.  I love listening to it, I love playing it, I love being taken over by a melody, a chord, or lyrics.  There are a few songs, however, that remind me of very specific things – a time, a location,  a feeling.    No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, a certain group of notes can trigger a response, a memory, and recollection of time gone by. 

Here are five songs that do this for me.

1.  “You’ve Got a Friend” – James Taylor

This song will forever remind me of my KAIROS retreat the spring of my junior year of high school.  For those that don’t know, I went to a Catholic High School, and KAIROS was a 4 day retreat that students could go on their junior or senior year.  I won’t got into details about the retreat, but it was an experience that impacts me until today.  I may not be what someone would refer to as actively “religious” right now, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have my faith as a part of what drives me or guides me.  This song was one that was used during the retreat and still reminds me of the experience and the people I shared it with.

2.  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole

This song has a lot of memories attached to it, but most specifically it reminds me of the last time I saw each of my grandparents alive.  They were two amazing people who instilled in me the love of travelling, service, and also allowed me to have a lot of great experiences that helped shape me into the person I am today.  I often stop and wonder what they would say to me if they could see me today, and I know, deep down, they would be proud of me and proud of the adult I have become.

3.  “Love Train” – The O’Jays

Duluth. April 23-25, 2010. This was the weekend where I had my first experience of the DFL endorsement process as a volunteer.  It was my first cycle where I wasn’t working directly for a campaign, and I was able to do things that I wanted to.  It was also my first big DFL “thing” after a year of big changes, some medical issues, and a lot of growth and soul searching.  Plus, it reminds me of the fabulous team I worked with, and the great friends I made as a result of being on Team MAK.  Plus, who can forget the epic floor demonstration?  I saw people busting moves I would not have expected from them – EVER!

4.  “Andrea Chenier”

During my junior year of college, we played a selection of music from this opera in Symphonic Band.  However, the concert that we played this at wasn’t just any concert, it was guest conducted by the Conductor of the U.S. Marine Corps Band, Col. Tim Foley (who has since retired).  This was a huge honor to have him at Marquette, directing our rag tag group of non-music majors on this complex piece.  It was one moment in all of my musical career where I truly felt like a musician.  I felt that it was more than just something that I did – it became very real.  Our group came together that day and gave one of the best performances of my time at Marquette.  It was an honor and a privelege, and I’m thankful to have been able to experience that moment.

5. “Hey Baby” – DJ Otzi

I heard this song while travelling in Australia in 2003 in a random club – in Brisbane or Sydney I believe.  It made me laugh, since it was a song that I heard a lot as a result of pep band, and it’s just a random remix.  When I returned back to the states, I would add it to party playlists and always be reminded of that trip.  This trip to Australia not only caused me to fall in love with this beautiful country, but also inspired much of the research I did during grad school.  There was just something about the people, the vibe, and the scenery that I loved.  I actually was planning to return for my PhD, but my life plan took a slight detour in 2006.  I hope to be able to visit again – perhaps for a bit longer of a stay – some day soon. 

Words really can’t capture fully why or how these songs cause this reaction – they just do.  I can only really explain what it reminds me of, but can’t figure out how to explain the more emotional part of the reaction.  I had a discussion with someone along these lines earlier this week.  The conclusions that music is simply inexplicable and that is the best way to explain music. 

And with that, I suggest that you take time to enjoy some music and the memories and emotions they carry along with them.  Good or bad, positive or negative, it will be worth it.  Sometimes you just have to feel and remember.

Music, personal, take 5

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