24 September 2011

The Magic of Music

Bert and Anne Whitney 1946

Are there certain songs or pieces of music that tug at your heart? Especially when that music is combined with images that are also touching? On September 11 this year we “celebrated” the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies from 2001. On the anniversary special presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Tom Brokaw I watched the heart-warming footage of that year’s rescue efforts, heroism and Americans pulling together accompanied by the choir’s wonderful singing of “Amazing Grace” complete with bagpipes. (Click on Brokaw's interview on the Choir website.) Scenes from across the country accompanied “America the Beautiful” and brought forth tender patriotic feelings in my heart.
My sister and her husband singing "Devoted to You"
 At our family reunions my sister and brother-in-law always receive a request for a few songs that we all love. Their voices blend beautifully with each other and his guitar accompaniment. One of these songs is “Devoted to You” made famous by the Everly Brothers. This year when they sang the song, they dedicated it to the newlywed couples of the family who were in attendance.
Grandparents Ralph and Doris Whitney
Another sister begged them to record their singing for our family history. Since the singing duo was staying at my house for a few days after the reunion, I prevailed upon them to do just that. Later it was published as a family history podcast with photos of family couples—the grandparents, parents and children, many on their wedding day. Thanks to Facebook for the ease of obtaining these photos. The photos were simple, the program that put it together was free (Windows Live Movie Maker), but the completed podcast has a lot of impact for our family because of the music that was a part of it. The song evoked years of family reunion campfires. The photos also portrayed the passage of time and generations.
M.J. and Hazel Christensen
A great source of historical music is The National Jukebox, a part of the Library of Congress. Don't forget that no matter what family history “writing” project you do, it is always appropriate to remember permissions and copyrights.

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