I grew up in a musical family where my mother was a piano, organ, and voice teacher and also the church choir director for over 50 years. Each Christmas, while growing up, the choir would prepare a special musical program to perform the Sunday before Christmas. This usually also consisted of a small chamber orchestra comprised of musicians from our local congregation. My mother would have me write out orchestral parts to enhance the special choir worship service commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of my efforts to arrange hymns for small groups of random musicians.
My younger sister wanted to play a different instrument from her siblings and at age eight, began playing the cello. Just as soon as she could play a whole note, she was, naturally, added to the Christmas orchestra. Aside from our family singing time, this was the beginning of making music together.
I attended college before her and majored in music, studying flute performance and pedagogy. She too, decided that music was her passion and she graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and became an extremely accomplished cellist.
Embrace any opportunity to make music with others, duets, trios, quartets, and more. You may find that the love of music is the very thing that binds your friendship together and will create never-ending memories.
Through the years, my younger sister and I performed together a lot: duets, trios, small chamber groups, open house programs, recording sessions, outdoor events, background music, and for the past 18 years we played together with the Utah Valley Symphony, not to mention countless family reunions, weddings, funerals and of course, Easter and Christmas Programs, as well as singing in choirs together.
Some of my most favorite musical memories with her are performing flute, cello, and piano trios together. My husband often said that there was something unspoken and magical when my sister and I would play together. I could write pages and pages of memories we had, but suffice it to say, there were too many moments to count.
Sadly, last year she was diagnosed with meniere’s disease which greatly affected her hearing. She made the difficult decision to retire from her orchestral playing as well as her cello studio and other musical obligations and shift her focus elsewhere. In spite of this trial, she has accepted it and always looks on the bright side of life.
You’ve heard the old adage, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” My sister has certainly made gallons and gallons of the sweetest lemonade and always has a sincere, broad smile on her face. Even though most of our future musical performances will have to wait until the next life, we have magnificent musical memories that will last throughout this lifetime and forever.