I'm watching the Oscars and heard the familiar strains of a beloved song from my childhood, and I knew what was unfolding before my eyes. As the curtain opened and I saw Barbra Streisand stand there, and the unmistakable notes of "The Way We Were" pour forth, it was no longer February 24, 2013.......
No, instead it was sometime about 35+ years ago, as sounds poured forth from our family's radio. I don't know when the gift and blessing of music entered my life, but it was there through our family's piano, the radios that were placed all over our house, even in the music from my childhood church which is no longer a solace but a haunting memory instead. It surrounded me, but I was drawn most to those radio sounds, and in particular to the women singers I heard of those days: Carly Simon and Karen Carpenter, whose warm rich alto became the basis for my own alto range (though these days I'm most often labeled Mezzo-Soprano, or among my friends, the Sopraltenator). There was Carole King and Joni Mitchell, women who wrote their own music and sang it with the passion of bringing their own stories to life.
And then there was Barbra Streisand. She was all over the airwaves of the 70s, at least on the stations I heard most often. You couldn't help but hear her everywhere. I remember "The Way We Were" and "Evergreen" and "My Heart Belongs to Me" and so many others. Her music was a thread woven in my life, and one way I learned to sing higher notes. Her breath control was awe-inspiring --- how in the world could she hold and stretch those notes out for all that time?
And seeing her sing tonight wowed me, all over again.
Still a model, after all this time.