Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Songs From My iPod

One of my all-time favorite musical soundtracks is Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, the story of Jean Valjean on the cusp of the French Revolution. I saw the Broadway version in New York in 1995, and years later reconnected with a few key songs from the production in a most unexpected way.

I was in seminary taking a semester of voice lessons, so I could improve my overall public speaking. The instructor showed me a clip from a videotaped production of Les Mis, and asked me to practice my voice with the song "Bring Him Home."

I am far from gifted enough to sing this song in anyone's presence but my teacher, but entering into the lyrics was a powerful experience. Valjean is pleading with God for the young hero Marius to return home safely: "He is young/He is only a boy." I became immersed in the message, to the point I was no longer that concerned about the mechanics of the singing. My teacher helped me self-discover how that was the point...if you lose yourself in the passion of the story, many of the other issues concerned with vocal projection and rhythm take care of themselves.

Lose yourself in the passion of living, and many of the day-to-day stresses became reframed and even neutralized. Songs like "Bring Him Home" help to re-ignite me, to keep the romantic within alive, to help me soar and dream.


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