I’m Just a Singer in a Living Room Band

I haven’t written any tell-all articles about my parents. This is the closest I’ll get to that.

I started life as a child of two performers. One was reluctant. One certainly was not. My mom was the former. She took voice and dance and piano lessons. She even performed on the radio when she was a kid. She has a great singing voice and she plays piano well, too.

Here’s the tell-all part – she pretty much hated every minute of it. She does not like the spotlight. Yet, when I was a kid, whenever we had company, my two sisters and I were rounded up to come and sing for them. Mom accompanied us on the piano. I guess she figured the focus would be on us, so she put her love of music in front of her dislike of performing in front of people.

Now, I’m not trying to get all Moody Blues on you, but that was my young life. My theme song was – I’m just a singer in a living room band.

Thinking back on it, I didn’t really understand her doing this to us until I factored my dad into the equation. Dad was a performer. He was a magician, and we were forever asking him to do tricks for our friends. It only stands to reason that he would rope my sisters and mom into performing, too. That combined with how much Mom loved to hear us sing – well, if we had still been in the era of radio, I imagine we would have been on it just like her!

I always tried to protest this coercion, but secretly I liked it. Singing was one of the few things I thought I could do well at that stage and I loved the accolades.

Mom and Dad 1966 or 67

I don’t remember all the songs that we would sing, but the set would always include, Take Me Out to The Ballgame. Mom was and still is an avid Baltimore Oriole fan, so this combined her two passions.

My older sister became quite accomplished on the piano, while I struggled along with the clarinet until the neighborhood took up a collection to make it disappear. I was terrible. My little sister found her love in gymnastics, which are hard to sing to.

What did I take away from that kind of childhood forced labor (of love)?

I became comfortable in front of other people. Even though they were family and friends, I would have to put away fears and nervousness. It was a tremendous help for my future, plus a love of music was planted in all of us. Being yourself in front of family and friends who love you was a good beginning to speaking in front of others. Having fun sharing your gifts with others as a form of entertainment was the best part.

After we’d sing, we were dismissed to go play with cousins or maybe if it was Sunday go watch the Wonderful World of Disney. One thing, on one screen, to watch together. It was a great childhood. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Last night before we turned in for bed after a long day full of family and fun, we had a performance in our living room. It was because my mom wanted to hear her great-granddaughters (my granddaughters) sing. Yes, she’s still at it! And, by the way, they were amazing.

 

My three granddaughters singing in my living room.

 

 

This is Post #22 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Vanessa Marks

     /  April 22, 2019

    I like the family stories.

    Reply
  2. Dee Coxon

     /  April 22, 2019

    Lovely story Bonnie and beautiful girls. I wonder if they had any of your reservations while they were performing? As a flexi introvert I’d always preferred the spotlight where the bulb was broken :-). Took me a while to embrace the spotlight……. never as a singer but definitely as a story teller/sharer.

    Reply
    • For a little while the youngest one had reservations. Last year, when she was six, she told me she told herself to just do it and not be scared. It worked. She’s pretty amazing. Some day she’ll probably run a small country. Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you have embraced your story teller’s spotlight.

      Reply
  3. Great story! You tied up 4 generations in the story. I loved the spotlight myself and there is no better sound than an audience laughing. My mom said I couldn’t carry a tune in a 5 gallon pail. She was right but I did take part in community theatre. There is only one time I sang on Stage and that was not really singing.
    We did a Little Bit of Broadway and I did the “Ya Got Trouble” from the music man. memorizing that was hard but I was a show stopper.

    Reply
  4. Jeanine Byers

     /  April 23, 2019

    Oh, I love that! The tradition continues. I used to sing in my living room, too. I’d come home from school, put The King and I on the record player and sing, “Getting to Know You,” gesturing to the imagined audience as I sang. I love singing to this day, but karaoke is as far as I go for performing. My parents never asked us to perform in front of their friends, but my sister and I did make up a dance once and perform it for them. It was to Ray’s Rockhouse, by Manhattan Transfer.

    Reply
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