The Fabric of Music


Daily Prompt: Papa Loves Mambo

Music has always been a part of our family fabric.

From the ancestors who played in the brass bands of northern Michigan in the 1800s to my grandfather who played a multitude of instruments in his living room, to my grandmother who warbled like a bird while painting portraits of her beloved mountains, there was never any lack of music in my family.

It was only logical then, that at some point a generation would cultivate the gift of music and do something with it.

One side of the family inhabited the rock genre for many decades, touring the west coast of Canada and the U.S.

On our side of the family my mother Lois McDonallin the early 1970s, burst onto the international operatic stage as a dramatic soprano specializing in the Bel Canto repertoire.

It was her career and a vital part of our formative lives. Divorced and raising two kids on her own in a land far from everything she knew, mom was the sole breadwinner and worked long hours to provide for my brother and I. We enjoyed a comfortable, but not extravagant life.

Lois McDonall, my mother, as Violetta in Guiseppe Verdi's "La Traviata." English National Opera production.

Lois McDonall, my mother, as Violetta in Guiseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.” English National Opera production.

Given her humble beginnings in the middle-of-nowhere, Alberta, and the difficult upbringing she had as an only child in a deeply troubled home, her success in her chosen field of music  was nothing less than miraculous. (Some day, when I feel so inclined, I may write about it.)

As you might imagine, then, our home was filled to the brim with classical music.

All through my formative years my mother’s career base was the English National Opera in London’s West End. My brother and I went to the opera a lot, so our memories of music revolve heavily around this experience.

To bring balance, I guess, my personal tastes leaned toward the country rock of the Eagles and other contemporary bands of the 1970s and 80s.

Both my brother and I learned to play the piano. He eventually moved on to the clarinet.

My musical training finely tuned my ear and to this day if an artist in any genre is the least bit sharp or flat, I cringe ~ turn down the sound, change the channel, turn the dial, walk out of the bar. My ears are spoiled for true sound. I suppose that’s why I’m not a big fan of auto-tuning.

Does this make me a music snob?

Perhaps. But I know what I like and I don’t like my ears assaulted. I’d rather listen to no music than be offended by something I don’t like.

Of course, I sing. Both my brother and I do.

Our small family enjoyed sing songs around the piano of a Sunday evening. Mom took the soprano part, I sang alto and my brother switched between tenor and bass. He’s always been clever that way.

In my late 20s I had the privilege of joining the 180-voice Toronto Mendelssohn Choir as a soprano and relished 12 seasons of pure music joy.

I’d always loved choral music and it was on my bucket list from a young age to sing in a large choir. This particular choir is one of the world’s great symphonic choral organizations, and one of the oldest. It’s noted for its pureness of tone and versatility. Singing with this amazing institution is one of the great music highlights of my life. Handel’s Messiah, Mozart Requiem, Brahm’s Requiem and so, so many more amazing choral standards and contemporary works resonate so deeply it’s like soul food to me.

Following my tenure with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir I spent almost 10 years in a vocal trio ~ ChoirGirlz ~ so called because we met in the choir and decided we wanted to try our vocal chops on something new. Bluegrass and country was our first experiment, which went so well we expanded our repertoire to include a little bit of R&B, vocal jazz, as well as a lot of original material written specifically for our finely tuned voices.

ChoirGirlz' third, and final, CD ... "Livin' It."

ChoirGirlz’ third, and final, CD … “Livin’ It.”

We performed in bars, at fundraising concerts, at festivals, and recorded three CDs. We had a blast.

In 2010, we disbanded. We’d all had enough and it was time to move on.

I haven’t performed in public since, except for a hair-brained attempt at rock music in a temporary band a couple of years ago. Not my vocal genre at all, but fun. Through it I met a great voice coach with a jazz background and thought I might nurture myself into jazz. I enjoyed workshopping that for a while and have a great voice for it, but sadly adrenal fatigue put a wrench in the works. I just don’t have the extra vitality it takes (at this point, anyway) to sustain a performance to the standard I like and an audience deserves.

On one level this makes me sad. Still, if I was focusing on singing I wouldn’t be writing and that, to me, is where the thrust of my creative energy lies at this point in my life.

I have many fond memories of singing and the good fortune to have had it all start in a home filled with love and glorious music.

Once music is woven into our hearts it’s part of the fabric of our lives forever.

And what could be better than that?

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

More Music

Sabbatical Songs: growing up in Oxford | ALIEN AURA’S BlOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
One Crazy Mom » Growing Up With Music
Papa Loves Dylan | The Magic Black Book
To Run in a Dream | The Nameless One
Hats, spurs and belts | Kate Murray
The One That Could Have Been [Ndifreke's Story] | She Writes
Songs Of Yesterday | Awake & Dreaming
Wednesday’s Run | Oldman
A Dream: An Open Letter to Air Supply | Kosher Adobo
Punk | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
Will The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?! | Life Confusions
281. Hee Haw and Soap Bubbles | Barely Right of Center
Daily Prompt: Papa Loves Mambo | Basically Beyond Basic
Do The Diversity Dance. | Asta’s Space
The Greatest Generation Had The Best Music | Just Visiting This Planet
Daily Prompt: Papa Loves Mambo | A Mixed Bag
Minutely Infinite | Rewinding the mixtape
Let’s Not Go to the Beach | Green Embers
My Score ::E.N.Howie’s Motivational Moments
DP: TRIOS | DANDELION’S DEN
The Origin of My Musical Taste | wisskko’s blog

12 thoughts on “The Fabric of Music

  1. Pingback: Daily prompt: Music | The Wandering Poet

  2. Pingback: B.Kaotic

  3. Pingback: Days Of Music Passed | Edward Hotspur

  4. Pingback: Music In My Life | 365 Days of Thank You

  5. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Papa Loves Mambo but Mama – Mama is a Different Story – Mama is a Big Bands Kinda Gal | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  6. Pingback: The Breakfast Soundtrack - Compass & Quill

  7. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Papa Loves Mambo | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

  8. Pingback: Papa Loves Mambo (Not really) | Alexia Jones

  9. Pingback: [M.M.X.I.V. 80] Change it! | Never A Worry

  10. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Poem / Poetry – “Facing The Music” | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s