I believe music heals. As a Mom and classical pianist, I try to balance my daily life to some sort of equilibrium that allows me enough time to, well, breathe. Imagine a day that includes: teaching and practicing piano, chores, chauffeuring, meetings, making business decisions, contracting, reading, writing, helping with homework, food shopping, cooking, driving and more. Did I mention brush my teeth and hair, just so I could look presentable?! Yeah, we’ve all been there. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
In the Fall of 2011, our little town of Bennington, was going through a difficult time. It’s too painful a topic to provide details, but, in short: there was a long teacher strike and all the school-aged students were not allowed in the classrooms. Days and days of negotiations went on and on. I felt for the kids. While kids typically complain that they don’t like school, in reality, many like the routines that school provides (and some even enjoy learning and homework…thank you, Taylor and Austin).
I wanted my own two boys (mentioned, above) to know what was going on and that it was possible to see both sides of the debate. They know that I strive to instill harmony as often as possible when it comes to any argument.
With that said, I came upon a solution: I was going to go downtown, play the piano and show my school-orphaned teen boys that you can make a political statement without taking sides.
Music heals! Why not play my heart out to create a town balm, even if it is only temporary?
Thing was, I wasn’t going to play in an established venue. Nope. I asked my husband, Dale to put one of our pianos safely onto a trailer. Always great at engineering a solution, he got a ramp, rolled the piano up it and strapped it down. I was going to play on the streets in the middle of a snowstorm. How Vermont of me! I wanted to instill a powerful impression and lesson that would stay fresh in the minds of my boys.
So, off the piano went with the kids and some friends in tow. Oh, I neglected to mention one thing: I was going to play the piano on the trailer!
Halfway to our destination, a police officer stopped the car and addressed Dale. Apparently, some onlookers had reported our shenanigans. His first words were: “Are you serious?!” Dale promptly pointed to the back of the trailer and said: “Ask her!”
The police officer wasted no more questions: “I’m going to highly recommend that you get off the trailer and get into the van.” I replied: “No sir, I’m perfectly comfortable right here on the piano bench. As you can see, the piano has been carefully (seat) belted.” He grumbled, said he’d have to check with other authorities to find out what kind of a citation he might need to give me and off he went.
A few minutes later, we were parked on the street and I played for a solid four hours in 33 degree temperatures, took some requests, played both classical and switched to Broadway songs when a crowd gathered around.
Clearly the boys enjoyed being exposed to the capers of a Mom who didn’t care if she was a little over the top as long as they learned a valuable lesson. Just another day in the life of a pianist trying to heal the world, poco a poco.