Maria, Marta and Mountains to Climb

NC mountains sunset view

NC mountains sunset view

Like a lot of Americans this past week, I tuned in and watched former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood transform herself into the character of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live staging of the musical, “The Sound of Music.”

As I watched Underwood stare straight into the camera as she walked towards the alter in the famous wedding scene, I commented to my husband (who never saw Underwood’s debut audition on the American Idol TV program), “my, how far she has come.”

As I continued to watch the performance, I was reminded of how far I’ve journeyed in my life, since the days of my childhood, when my identical twin sister and I shared the role of Marta von Trapp in the former Raleigh Village Dinner Theatre’s “The Sound of Music” reappraisal.

Hearing the words and music of the play, I was carried back in time.  I remembered standing on stage as Marta and singing, “So long, farewell Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight. I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.”  I recalled the thrill of performing live on stage, the audiences’ claps and learning the true story of the Von Trapp Family singers.

Have you ever acted on a stage or other theatrical venue?  It’s a strange phenomenon to act and “become another person,” if only for a few hours.

Maybe it was because of my age at the time that I performed the role of Marta, but, somehow I still feel closely connected to the story of the von Trapps. I still am connected to their story, because their story is a part of my youth and, thus, is a part of my life story.

As an adult, I now understand more clearly some of the messages that the musical offers.  For example, I now understand the power of choice in our lives, and I more clearly see that the character of Maria must decide how and where she’ll spend her love, a decision that will equate to how she will spend her lifetime.

Maria doesn’t choose the Abbey but, instead, chooses the Captain and the kids.  She chooses to make her dream a reality, and, in doing so, she must give that dream, “all the love she can give,” because the reality of life is the fact that life is full of mountains that must be climbed.

The famous “Climb Ever Mountain” tune that Audra McDonald sang so beautifully the other night on NBC calls out to each of us, “like a lark that is learning to sing,” sounding forth these important questions for us to consider:

  • Over which mountains are you heading? 
  • Which dreams of yours will you hold on to and follow to fruition and reality?
  • How are you spending your love? 
  • How are you spending your life?

Unsure of the answers?  That’s ok, but, if she were a real person, I think Maria would advise:

Don’t wait too long to decide.

What’s in Your Favorites List?

The Sound of Music movie imageMany individuals throughout the world are familiar with the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, The Sound of Music.

Several of the songs performed in The Sound of Music have become standards, including one of the most popular tunes in the musical titled, “My Favorite Things.”

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens” are instantly recognizable lyrics that have delighted countless fans throughout the years — children and adults alike.

For example, have you ever listened to John Coltrane’s near fourteen-minute version of “My Favorite Things” on his album of the same name?  In 1961, having been inspired by the original “My Favorite Things,” Coltrane released his version of the song, which became a jazz classic.

Ironically, a song with lyrics about one individual’s list of favorite things is likely now listed on thousands of individuals’ lists of favorite things.

It’s refreshing when individuals can clearly and easily define those things that they believe in and hold most dear.

Who could forget the famous “I Believe” speech that Kevin Costner made while playing character Crash Davis in the 1998 film Bull Durham?   As Susan Sarandon as Annie in the movie replied, “Oh, my!

Knowing your likes and dislikes is a key exercise for reinforcing self and individualism.  However, it’s important to be aware that announcing your preferences to the world can, by default, associate or segment you into a larger group of individuals who share your preferences.

Think about the last time that you “Liked” an organization’s Facebook Fan page.  Did you happen to notice new advertisements promoting content similar to that organization’s mission and services popping up in the ad section of your Facebook Profile page in the following days?  Without doubt, marketers today are focused on your preferences and the groups to which you belong.

So, the next time you publicly list your favorite things, you may want to ask yourself, “Who else likes these same things?” and “Which groups am I now a member of?”

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