SIRI BARDARSON, Jan. 4, 2012
“The Importance of Being an Earnest Participant”
Happy New Year readers and I don’t want to jump right in to the “resolution” thing but along those lines, have you thought about that musical passion you have stashed in the back of your heart? You know, the postponed, put-down wish, the interest, hint or hankering that catches you like a wink from the universe but dissipates as quickly as smoke from a burned match? Well, it’s time to experience plain old fun or apply some serious discipline. So whether you are dusting something off or humbling yourself to beginner status, I say, life is now, and it’s time to begin.
I think we are a growing culture of non-participants and watchers-from-the-sidelines. In our culture, in order to be on stage, on the field, in the band or in the concert, only the super-stars need apply. Participation is for the few and the rest of us, we pay for the vicarious thrill via our front row seats and our Sunday afternoon quarterback gigs. We willingly give our energies to our children’s music lessons, instrument rentals or purchases but we don’t consider creating the space and time for our own pursuit of music. Really? I mean, “What’s it all about, Alfie?”
And now for my conspiracy theory! This lack of participation in our secret music passion (or passion of any kind) is strangely linked to consumerism. My ‘aha” moment came while flipping through an issue of “Outside” magazine. I love the writing in “Outside.” It’s characterized by a testosterone-loaded, Hunter S. Thompson style that praises all things outdoors and extreme. It is great journalism, like “Rolling Stone” but without the Stratocasters and drug overdoses. While I was reading along, following the exploits of a tropical forest bungee jumper, I noticed the ads. The ads were all for clothing. Parkas, jackets, hiking boots, running shoes and cool shirts that wick away all that extreme sweat, and I realized that we all just BUY the clothes and have an “as if” experience, while dressing the part.
Think about all the hiking boots that tromp through the hardware store, the running shoes that push all those carts across the COSTCO parking lot. And what about all that 4-wheel drive capability? As if a middle-aged woman driving a Subaru Outback (this is my demographic so I may speak) with coiffed hair and the dogs in the back behind the wire cage thingie, as if, (and believe me, I wish she would do this) she is going to kick that Subaru into 4-wheel drive and head out across a field at 50 mph, catch a little air as she rams over a gully, slide sideways into a mud hole, screech to a stop, step out with a mud stripe across her forehead and a come hither look in her eye and take a deep pull off of a bottle of Patron tequila.
This scenario is not going to materialize, but with the long-sleeved, hot-orange, breathable fabric tee, with a hint of cotton and extra-long elasticized cuffs with thumbholes for added warmth plus a secret zippered key pocket, it just might!
By the same token, there is the participation in music. How many pairs of high-top Converse tennis shoes are out there, not to mention, black T-shirts? What about all the guitar cases hidden upright in the corners of closets or more boldly out in the living room in the music area on a cool stand but gathering dust. When I was young and not playing much music, but longing to, I would hang out in taverns listening to blues bands, while wearing my perfect suede jacket, my uniform, my identity. It makes me sad to think back on it, all that longing and watching and not doing. I wanted to be a blues guitarist, but I was afraid.
So, my dear readers, what is it going to be for us? How are we going to be something besides, what a teenager who used to lurk in my house called, “posers”? Ouch!
This is my suggestion. Just do it! Hah, a Nike-branded saying that has a heck of a lot of philosophic truth attached to it; the intersection of consumerism and being. Be on guard for this!!! Put on some black, put on that pair of Converse or your favorite something. Favorite things function as emotional teddy bears to counteract fear and heighten the daring it takes to begin something. Then, drag out your guitar, banjo and ukulele or hum a few bars and learn or re-learn three new tunes and go to the following open mikes. Or go and join one of these groups, take lessons, teach yourself and then throw yourself a house concert. If you make it a benefit, no one will criticize anything that you do!
Let’s look at the digits of 2013 in a different way. 0…1…2…3…blast off and kick your dream into 4-wheel drive.
Siri Bardarson is a musician devoting this year to creative projects that synthesize her classical and popular music backgrounds via her new electric cello. She is ecstatically happy!
Upcoming events for making sweet music:
Click Music in Oak Harbor lists local events on the homepage, with lots of jams!
There’s a Friday Night Open Mike every week at Tim Noah’s Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish and a once-a-month song circle. Check out the calendar on the website.
Shape Note Singing Group (think church scenes in the movie, “Cold Mountain”) meet at Langley Methodist Church Fellowship Hall from 3 to 5 p.m, Sunday, Jan. 6 and first Sundays thereafter. Contact: Bruce Rowland 360-730-1447. Look for the big Shape Note Conference in Seattle in February.
Saratoga Orchestra will hold auditions for the second half of this season.
And don’t forget about the Whidbey Community Orchestra for auditions and events.