Saturday, April 29, 2017

In what key do you play your life?/MANN

Does it really matter in what key we play a piece of music? Some would say, good Bluegrass should be played in the key of E or A. Well, my friend Charlie says anything sounds good in G. When I go to the local nursing home to play the piano, Charlie often greets me. “Are you going to play the piano?”

“Yes, I am. Are you going to join me in entertaining the folks?”

“I like playing in the Key of G.”

I assure him that I’ll play as many pieces as I know in the Key of G. He grins and points to his mandolin. I settle onto the piano bench, Charlie faces the residents, steadies his instrument firmly on his lap and tightens his fingers around the neck.
As soon as I put my fingers on the piano keys, he asks, “Key of G?”

And I reply, “Key of G, let’s go.” 

When I finish a piece, he grins as if he is the only one performing. After I play for a while, I decide to try a song that the residents particularly like, but it’s easier for me to play it in the Key of D. I wonder if Charlie will stop strumming and frown at me. But, he doesn’t miss a beat. He continues playing his favourite three chords with a big smile on his face like he’s on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

It is only then, I realize regardless of what key I play, Charlie will play the song in the Key of G and coax responses from the residents and staff like a pro. And when we finish, he’ll turn to me and nod. What is important to him is playing his instrument, sharing his music with another musician and giving pleasure to his friends seated around the big room.

“I like Bluegrass music,” he says.

“I do too. Let's try this one.” I begin to play ‘Church in the Wildwood’ with a distinct bluegrass rhythm. Some musicians’ say the rhythm guitar is the glue to hold a band together. I think Charlie’s mandolin does the trick for us. Even the old gospel songs take on a new pulse.

Trust is the important ingredient in sharing music with someone Trust that Charlie will continue to play even though I change the key. And trust that to some the rhythm is as important than the key. Keeping the same rhythm is as significant for Charlie as breathing. His tapping toe and strumming keep  us both on track.

We’re familiar with words like trust, and joy, community, being sensitive to one another and spreading God’s love wherever we can. We read that in the Word and we live it out in our lives. To see all of this and more as the ordinary stuff of life reveals God at work in the everyday world. Thanks be to God.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (Philippians 4:8)

Donna Mann

New Release from Angel Hope Publishing: Good Grief People
Book launch: Saturday, May 6th, 2017, Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum.


Peter Black said...

Thanks Donna. Oh my . . . You take me back decades to when, as a youngster, I acquired a mandolin and later I ended up with two mandolin banjos. One of the latter was the first instrument I played in church on a regular basis.
I sometimes wonder whether those instruments still exist and make music somewhere.
Your generosity of spirit comes through, Donna, in welcoming Charlie's musical contribution, even though (as I suspect) it may difficult at times for you to continue playing when a conflicting key is being used at the same time. ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

Thanks Peter. I play rather loudly, so Charlie just plays along. He's in his own world most of the time, but connected enough to know when to begin and end. He does love his music and I'm happy to join him in his world.

Glynis said...

So lovely. I can see you two tapping your toes and Charlie making a joyful noise unto the Lord. I am sure you have blessed so many with your 'duet'. Very special, that Key of G!

fudge4ever said...

Lovely story, and I would love to stop by and hear you play. Sounds like fun. 😊. Pam M.

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