Music Heals, poco a poco

Our street is lined with cars due to teacher strike

Cars parked on our street due to teacher strike. I like the signs on our front lawn.

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?

Music heals sign

Dale with “Music Heals” sign

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.

Piano on trailer

Piano on trailer (note the snow!)

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!

Heading out of our driveway

Heading out of our driveway


Passing Robert Frost’s grave

Down the hill

Rolling down the hill

Quite the wintry mix

Quite the wintry mix

A person from this house came out to gawk

A person from this house came out to gawk

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.

“Are you serious?!”

Wonder if the lawyer's who work in this building are concerned?

Wonder if the lawyers who work in this building are concerned?

Almost there, as we get to a more commercial zone

Commercially zoned. Almost there.

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.

Little town of Bennington streets

Little town of Bennington, on Main Street (note that I’m wearing hand warmers)

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.

Enjoying the "exposure!"

Enjoying the “exposure!”

About Polly van der Linde

Pianist, teacher, director of International Piano Camps in VT, for adults and children of all levels of ability
This entry was posted in Music heals, Piano tour and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Music Heals, poco a poco

  1. aclem63 says:

    I applaud you, Polly, not only for your principle, but dealing with the weather that day!

  2. Barbara Smith says:

    ‘I’ve been in awe of you, Polly, since my first day at a Sonata (many years ago.) Austin and Taylor are so lucky to have you as their Mom (and their Dad too–his part cannot go unnoticed.) The people in the town of Bennington are lucky to have you there and of course, the students/friends of the Sonatas and Sonatinas are so lucky that there is a Polly in their lives. Yes, music heals, let us count the ways. Thank you for the many ways you’ve brought it to us all.

  3. Lorraine Pantaleo says:

    Dear Polly, I did so enjoy that vicarious adventure. I have enough trouble practicing for one
    hour in a warm house. You do have a little of your mother in you and I hope I have ingested
    a bit of that too. Life is so much more interesting when you DARE to do something unusual
    or take a risk. Thanks for making a bright ending to my quite nice day.

  4. Lois Ross says:

    Dear Polly: You are amazing and DARING! I admire that quality in you. Yes a strike can be very trying. We had one when my kids were small and several parents and myself broke into the locked school and taught the kids ourselves. Lois

  5. Susan Goldman says:

    Very cool. (Both literally and figuratively.) 😉

  6. trailsofivy says:

    Wonderful, wonderful story! Loved it and great pictures too.

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