September 8, 2012 6:33:03 PM
September is "Classical Music Month." Almost everyone is familiar with the quote "Music has charms to soothe the savage breast" (William Congreve; "The Mourning Bride"; 1697). But, even for those who are not so "savage," music of any sort can be magic and medicinal.
Modern ultra-sound and sonograms show that even a baby in the womb will smile when any Vivaldi piece is played near them. "Sound stimuli begin to show its role after 18 weeks of pregnancy, because fetal ears become active." (healinggrosacea.com)
For adults, too, music can create a mood, or an emotion, or change a feeling. In our part of the world, "The Blues" is a term for a genre of music that can evoke a literal response. The sadness of the lyrics may be contagious. There is a beauty and poignancy in these tales of love gone wrong, and all the woes of a hard life.
September in the Golden Triangle is filled with wonderful cultural opportunities of all sorts; music is only one.
This past week, the Tennessee Williams Tribute presented a wealth of lectures, tours, performances and luncheons, all honoring our Pulitzer Prize-winning native son. Thank you, Brenda Caradine, for your indefatigable and energetic efforts that keep the work of this great writer alive in Columbus.
Of course, one of the high points of the week was Friday night's "Stella" Shouting Contest, sponsored by Hollyhocks. You do not have to be a Tennessee Williams scholar to understand and enjoy the passion of a would-be Stanley Kowalski's/Marlon Brando's plaintive wails for his beloved Stella. I was so flattered to be asked to help judge this contest. But, I assure you it was no easy task.
You may still have time to catch a free concert today, by music professor Robert Damm. He will take you on "An African Musical Journey," at 3 p.m., in the McComas Theatre on the campus of Mississippi State University.
Dr. Damm's recitals are wonderful fun, featuring many non-traditional instruments. You may be surprised to learn that even tone-deaf folks (like me) can produce beautiful sounds with drums and all sorts of percussion instruments created from unexpected materials, like gourds, shells, and hollow wooden objects filled with seeds or tiny stones.
Many venues around town feature live performances every weekend. From Downtown Columbus, to West Point, to "Starkvegas," you can enjoy just the right entertainment for your mood, especially if you need an attitude adjustment. There are nightclubs and also non-drinking establishments that welcome families. Keep an eye on The Dispatch calendars for opportunities to enjoy live music.
Today is my birthday. (I am at an age where it is not polite to ask which one.) However, although I am certainly no infant, like the Vivaldi-loving babies, I am moved and uplifted by music, classical or otherwise. So, strike up the band, and put on your toe-tapping shoes. September is a great month to get out and experience all the delightful music the Golden Triangle has to offer!
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.