By Amy McCollom
It happens to all of us. Music speaks universally and directly, and sometimes it grabs our hearts. This is the time of year for it, too, with graduations and weddings and other formal affairs happening all around us. We are bound to get our hearts squeezed with emotion. Don’t forget to pack a hanky or extra tissue in your purse or pocket, in case the “wind makes your eyes water.”
For years when I was in the school band, I played the crash cymbals. The song Pomp And Circumstance is a really long song when you are standing up and holding a 20 lb. brass cymbals in each hand, barely chinking them together in front of your body. I should have worked out for that job. No one told me it was going to be a true test of my brute strength. Try doing it sometime! Pomp And Circumstance is the song that never ends! By the 18th minute into the song, I was covered in sweat, my arms were shaking, and I was praying to God that the last graduate had entered the gym. Honestly, the school band members do not get enough credit for all they go through. Power to the band geeks!
Pomp And Circumstance is one of those songs that make me teary-eyed now that I’m an adult. From remembering my own graduation and what that meant, to seeing my children walk down to accept their diplomas, it grabs my heart every time. The song has such a proud, accomplished, formal attitude to it, something bigger than myself, that it just breathes importance. Knowing that others from all walks of life have also marched down shiny floors to that themed accoladed tune breeds a statute of importance, and legacy. I almost catch my breath when I hear it. If Pomp And Circumstance doesn’t affect you, then you aren’t paying attention or not into the moment.
Fun fact; the song Pomp And Circumstance, written by British Sir Edward Elger in 1901, actually has lyrics too. It was first used at the coronation of Edward VII (Queen Victoria’s son) in 1902. Four years later, Elger was given an honorary Doctorate degree at Yale University, and the song was played as he preceded off the stage, and thus started a trend. Then the processional song was played at Princeton, University of Chicago, Columbia University, and then everybody started using it. I guess we know a good thing when we hear it.
June, July, and August seem to be the wedding months, and who doesn’t love a nice wedding? It’s like a Prom, for everyone! Love, and beauty, flowers, and romance, and there’s cake! I wish I was invited to more weddings. Feel free to invite me to any wedding you would like, I give nice gifts. Weddings can be so creative and individual, but the one thing I always love is the traditional Wedding March. There is just something about those first ten pounding notes that bring the guests to their feet that I just love so much! You can just feel in your soul that something big is about to happen. I get butterflies every time.
All of those memories of my big day come rushing back, all of the plans and preparation, the rushing around the forgotten arm gauntlets and left-behind necklace, the borrowed pearls from a friend, the lucky penny in my shoe. Then that moment when my dad took my arm and asked me one more time if I was sure about this, and I told him yes. Then I said yes again to the man I love. The beautiful ceremony, the introduction as husband and wife, then the 10 pounding notes again as our guests stood and applauded and cheered us as we took hands and left the sanctuary. We couldn’t have planned it better, and no other song could have made it feel more special. Every single time I hear it now, the Wedding March transports me back in time, grabs my heart and reminds me of that special day. So young brides to be, it’s ok to keep some things traditional. There is comfort and stability, and a little bit of magic in tradition.
The last song I will mention is a hard one, for it touches more hearts than any that I know – Taps. It is an honorable and needed memorial for all who have served and died, for without those who give of themselves, we would not have a country to call home. Taps makes grown men cry, wives weep heavy tears, mothers sob, and children bury their faces in the arms of family and friends. You won’t know how strong you are until you have sat under a tent in the cemetery while those three shots of seven guns fire, then Taps plays off in the distance. That is the day you realize how real life and death are. When you see the military procedure, and a decorated soldier kneels and hands a folded flag to you or a family member, and you hear those words, “On behalf of a grateful nation…” Taps, and all that follows it, squeezes the heart most of all.
Last of all, there is a song that will give you hope and uplift your heart when you feel down. You have to find it for yourself though, because we are all different. Music is powerful. Music has the power to move you, so choose it wisely. The wrong song could move you in the most very wrong direction. But the right song can raise you up and give you strength even in the midst of your toughest battle. Songs inspired by God carry with them the healing touch of the Almighty. If you want to feel hopeful, listen to songs about hope. Courageous, songs about courage. God reaches many people through songs.
Did you know that God sings a song over us?
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:17
There is a song about this, which I like immensely, by Urban Rescue called “Song Of My Father.” I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to listen to it. I believe it will grab your heart. Perhaps, this will become your song, as it did mine. I don’t mind sharing.