I grew up in a magical world of music called Charlotte’s Web. Troubadours from across the country and around the world came to Rockford, Illinois to play for us at Charlotte’s Web. I was three when the Web opened.
One of my earliest memories of the power of music was in 1977 when Jim Post, Dick Pinney and Ron & Ann Holm played a benefit concert for a local woman who was in the hospital. The concert was “wired” to her hospital room. I was eight. I do not know what effect this concert, playing live in this woman’s hospital room, had on her but I clearly remember the effect it had on me. I felt the power of music. This is one of my earliest memories of being a part of something larger than myself.
The years went by and the Web continued. In 1982, my family went to the Vancouver Folk Festival and with a crowd of about 2500 people danced to Silly Wizard. Later when these “lads from Scotland” came to play on the Web stage, like all the touring musicians, Silly Wizard stayed at our home. We all became close. At our snack bar, Silly Wizard would sing with our neighbor, George and swap hilarious stories and then sing some more. When George died, a memorial was held in our back yard. Silly Wizard paid tribute in song. I heard George singing with them on the breeze through the trees.
When I met my husband, we were living in different states. We sent cassettes back and forth. He introduced me to Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton while I introduced him to Jim Post, James Lee Stanley, Bonnie Koloc, Murray McLaughlin, Robin & Linda Williams and Tom Dundee. Music still communicates our love, sixteen years later.
Today I know that music is as essential to my life as the air I breathe.
I went to an Arlo Guthrie concert last weekend with my husband and parents. I smiled as the crowd cheered when Arlo told the story of the “little guy” who’d asked him to listen to his new song, “City Of New Orleans” because I’d first heard Steve Goodman sing this song backed by Jethro Burns on mandolin at the Web in the early 70’s. At the end of the fabulous night, Arlo introduced a song by inviting us all to sing. He described the scared boy crouched behind a rock in a desert who would hear our song floating on the wind and feel some small comfort in knowing that we were with him, supporting him. My eyes swelled and my heart soared while we all sang for that boy.
I don’t know the outcome of our songs but I do believe that when I am singing with a room full of people, be it 30 or 3000, I am a part of something larger than me.
I believe in the power of music.
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