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Spires: Music soothes the soul
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Spires: Music soothes the soul

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Music has always been an important part of my life. I listen to music every day.

There are a few types of music that I don’t particularly like. Some I like better live than recorded and some that I can listen to for hours.

Music has a calming affect on me. When I’m stressed or in an agitated state, it has a way of bringing me back to Earth.

I got that from my mother, who enjoyed listening to music. My love of Big Band and Broadway musicals came from her as well.

I remember growing up and hearing her records on the record player. We had one of those console-type players that sat in the living room. Almost anytime she was home there were records playing.

She especially liked "The Music Man," and "South Pacific," so I knew the words to all of those songs by the time I was 5 or 6.

Those records were as close as she ever came to seeing a live performance of any of the Broadway performances. Deep down I think that is one of the reasons I got involved in musical theater. I have been in both of those shows she liked by the way.

Big Band music was something else that was played at our house. Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo were two of her favorites.

When records weren’t playing, the radio was on. Back then, the local radio station played mostly country music, so I heard everything from Little Jimmy Dickens to Hank Williams almost daily.

My father didn’t have much of a variety of music he liked. His favorite music was gospel, especially quartet music. He had a small collection of albums by the likes of "The Florida Boys" and "The Blackwood Brothers." His favorite song, I remember, was “The Church in the Wildwood.”

So, when I hear the music that my parents loved, it brings back many fond memories. I have my own fond memories of music, as well.

As a child of the '50s and '60s, I have a lot of music to choose from. Just about anything from that era makes me feel good when I hear it. Sometimes I can remember where I first heard the song.

I remember hearing “Good Vibrations” on the jukebox at Indian Springs as it played over and over. That jukebox, by the way, taught me a lot of lyrics to songs in my early years.

There are few songs in that era that I don’t know at least a few words of the lyrics.

Two of my favorite songs, however, came later in my life. I love Louie Armstrong’s’ "It’s a Wonderful Life" and I especially like, "Ashokan Waltz" by Jay Unger.

Those two songs, both from movies ("Wonderful Life" from “Good Morning Vietnam,” and "Ashokan" from “The Civil War” documentary) caught my ear the very first time I heard them.

In this time with all of the confusion we seem to be facing, it is nice to step away from the chaos and listen to good music. I know it has certainly been a blessing for me.

Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell: Part I,” in a series of three books. You can contact him at byronspires51@gmail.com.

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