Solaced and refreshed

A very young patient enjoys singing by the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus, who visited Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana, July 2008. "Songs for all ages" by The U.S. Army, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A very young patient enjoys the vocal music of the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus,
who visited Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana, July 2008.
“Songs for all ages” by The U.S. Army, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”Martin Luther

I connect with a lot of things Martin Luther said, but none more than this quote.  There is nothing quite like music to soothe, heal, cheer, console or bring cathartic tears.  Music can reach beyond barriers that may be presented by language, illness, or disability, and has even seemingly awakened coma patients.

Music has never been more freely available than it is today, with online offerings to suit every taste and mood, along with multiple free programs that allow you to build your own playlists.  You can put together a collection of your own happy favorites for playing yourself out of a crabby mood, or calming melodies to ease tension and agitation.

If you need a quick dose of cheer, try this favorite from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a work that never fails to lift my spirits.  This short clip is from “Autumn,” so when you hear it, perhaps it will bring to mind the energizing touch of crisp fall air, which will be here before you know it!

One year ago today:

Higher ground


  1. raynard

    Julia, this coming labor day weekend, it’s back to NJ. But this time mentally I will be better prepared. Might have to download more music on my tablet. Find some no finish those books on my tablet and maybe order more. I could “rent a movie or two.. I’m so glad when Jesus” started handing out fish dinners”the health department didnt serve him with a ” cease and desist order’ I digress. This past weekend felt like” one half of my brain was tied behind my back , and the other half was” donated to science for research”.. And no I never ” hugged a tree’ only my wife, kids and dogs lol. Be blessed

    • Raynard, I think you will be wise to fortify yourself with some good “tunes” (as Al and Don always called favorite music, long before Apple did it) and books and movies to get you through the difficult times. It can be very therapeutic to take a mental break by plugging in those earphones and zoning out for awhile (not while walking or driving in heavy traffic of course). I will be praying for y’all. I’m glad you are there to help your relatives who are counting on you.

  2. Ann

    I love the photo. Any idea how I can hear the vocal? I’ve searched with no luck. Thanks.

    God bless our men and women in the armed services wherever they are and prayers for their safe homecoming.


    • Ann, I’m afraid the vocal isn’t online. It probably wasn’t recorded, although that group probably does make CDs for distribution to those who know them. I’m sure singing together is as therapeutic for the troops as it is for those who listen. Thanks for your prayers for our military folks. Even those who are not deployed are dealing with the stress of so many years of war. I am so thankful that today’s vets have more support (at least from the public) than those of the Vietnam era did.

  3. singleseatfighterpilot

    Vivaldi – hey, wasn’t he one of the original “Four Seasons” with Frankie Valli?
    (Do you remember I escorted that “Jersey Boy” into the first class section of one of my flights out of New York?) Oh, no, wait – that may not have been Vivaldi as the baritone . . . hmmm

    • Eric, I never knew about your having Frankie Valli on your flight. I would not have recognized him even though I did practically wear out your Four Seasons Gold record album. My favorite celebrity passenger story is when Hank Aaron came to the cockpit to introduce himself to Dad and mentioned he was traveling with the Braves – and our (NON-baseball-fan) father naively said “Oh really? Do you play?” “Yes” “What position?” “Right field” at which point the entire crew was in stitches because Daddy STILL had not caught on. By this time Aaron was amused too, and finally said “I’m Hank Aaron” and was a good enough sport that he gave Dad his autograph in spite of everything. I think even I would recognize Hank Aaron. Of course, this may have been before he broke the record, but he was close enough to it that everybody knew he would.

      Vivaldi I have never met, but with his wig on, I might recognize him. His presence is definitely felt all over Venice, that’s for sure.

  4. We have common ground, Julia.
    I love Vivaldi’s Concerto for Mandolin in C major.
    Music can carry us to heights giving us respite from our daily challenges.

    • Alan, I didn’t recognize that title, but I found the music file online and recognized the tune immediately – I love it! I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything by Vivaldi I didn’t love, though. Matt listens to public radio all the time and can tell me the names of much of what is played, but I’m not good at keeping up with it like he is. I do enjoy baroque music, especially when I need some energy. I also like the chamber-music style “Renaissance” sounds. Music is a great way to rise above it all, even if only in our imaginations.

  5. Julia, that is such a sweet moment that you captured. I read this early today, as I sat out on our deck, enjoying our first “sweatshirt feels good” morning. 🙂 Have you seen the Broadway musical Jersey Boys? I have the soundtrack and it’s so good. I love the Four Seasons. I guess “Sherry” was one of my favorite songs ever. Best of times thinking of that music! 🙂

    • Sheila, don’t you just love that feeling of cool in the morning? I hate to see the daylight hours waning, but the trade-off is that it’s cooler at night and in the morning. I haven’t seen Jersey Boys, but I’ve heard it’s good. Eric was fond of the song “Sherry” but that may have been because it’s his wife’s name! 😀 She was his girlfriend when they used to play that music nonstop. My favorites of their songs were “Dawn” and “Walk like a Man.” Probably some others I’m forgetting right now. Memory Lane!

    • singleseatfighterpilot

      Sheila, when only Frankie and one other were standing with me in the soon-to-be-boarded First Class section, parked on the ramp at LaGuardia; there were two great memories that flooded back when I saw “Jersey Boys”: He signed an autograph to my wife, “To Sherry Baby”; and when I told him she had an old album of his, he asked: “which one?”
      “Edizone Doro”, I replied.
      “That iS an old one!”, Frankie exclaimed.

      • Eric, that album is so old, I couldn’t even find it on Google! I remember the flashy gold “Aztec calendar” design, though.

  6. bobmielke

    I’ve had an appreciation for classical music since I was very young. My parents both immigrated to the United States when they were in their teens. They brought with them their love of good music and shared that love with their 4 children as they grew. It’s one of the treasures they passed on to my generation.

    • Bob, you and your siblings are lucky to have had that gift passed on to you. One of my earliest memories of home is of music. Before we had much of any real furniture my parents bought a console stereo and I grew up listening to all sorts of songs. Everything from Toscanini to Broadway musicals to Al Hirt to the Tijuana Brass to Frankie Laine and more. I remember Ravel’s “Bolero” playing often, though I never knew it was classical music until it was made famous years later by the movie “10.” Music added so much to my childhood. People I knew who grew up without it don’t seem to care too much for it as adults, and I think that’s like having a huge chunk of life missing.

      • bobmielke

        A lot of us listen to classical music and don’t know it. Looney Tunes is full of Puccini & Rossini overtures, The Lone Ranger’s William Tell Overture, Liszt’s Hungarian rhapsodies and Brahms’ Hungarian dances were everywhere. Disney movies were loaded with classics from Swan Lake to the Nutcracker Suite. I loved Saturday morning cartoons.

        • So true! I never realized until recent years that almost all the music from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is classical music set to Disney lyrics. And many of my high school classmates would immediately think of a particular Gilligan’s Island episode when they heard the music to Bizet’s Carmen.

  7. Susan

    Thank you for that lovely reprieve! I love classical music, and for some reason, Big Band and swing. Jazz, too. Here’s one genre that is perhaps less familiar; this is a clip of my daughter, Jill, and her husband, Sylvain, playing handpans..Sylvain is very good and has played professionally, but I thought you’d like the duet.

    Blessings on your day!

    • WOW, Susan, this is beautiful! I just love it! I had never heard of handpans before but I’m hooked. The fact that it was a husband and wife playing together made it even better. I really liked the little laughs at the very end. 😀 Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this!

    • That is just wonderful, thanks for sharing your families amazing music here Susan. I followed the link to Sylvain’s site and bookmarked for later. Beautiful.

      • I agree!

  8. Michael

    Very nice piece on the handpans which I had never heard of. Very nice.

    • Wasn’t that delightful? I so appreciate Susan sharing it with us. Lovely music to have playing while doing something relaxing or fun.

  9. Truer words are rarely spoken than this. Music is the wind beneath my wings (to borrow an overused term). I never go anywhere without my iPod. I listen to calming music while I do errands in noisy shops and markets. The constant borage of noise in these over-stimulized environments is just too overwhelming for me. The crowds, loud music blaring, plus and the fountains (which are meant to mask it all but sound like Niagara Falls) would do me in if not for the solace found in my iPod. It seems rather un-social but it’s a necessity for me. I didn’t notice that so much in Victoria though. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s just in Alberta.

    I generally enjoy mostly singer/songwriter genre but also love opera, Big Band and French music from the 20’s and 30’s. It’s so healing and uplifting to find the words in a melody that you relate too. The selection you shared for Vivaldi is wonderfully uplifting isn’t it? I’ve recently downloaded this song by a german group after seeing their wonderful YouTube where they sit with a homeless man and sing. They also have a site you can link to for the MP3 download if you wish. I think you’ll like it too xoxox

    PS, I choose to ignore the haters who leave negative comments about this being theatrics. Visiting their FB Page gives a clear message as to their intentions. Why people trash the efforts of other caring humans who are doing good things in the world is beyond callus.

    • You are right, I loved it! I had to look up the YouTube video to see the song you mentioned, and because of the nasty obscene comments from disturbed people, I had to disable “safety mode” even to see it. Sad. Those people who criticized them for “doing nothing helpful” are ignoring the glaring fact that people need love, friendship, music and attention as much or more than they need money. Some people in this world are so accustomed to being ignored and despised that something like what they did would be a delightfully different surprise. Agencies can give food and shelter but only people can give a human touch, a smile, a gesture that says “I see you and I care about you.” You do well to ignore the haters. I think they feel deep guilt about doing nothing themselves, so they must tear down those who are trying to rise above our tendency to think only of ourselves.

      • So true Julia. Those negative comments can only be left by totally unhappy individuals that are so syndical, they have no compassion to share. I love the Bejapy FB page, their music and their message. It makes my eyes swell up and almost spill over. Despite everything, it’s comforting to know there is so much goodness in the world and we’re chipping away at the overwhelming situation of homelessness and all that comes with that (lack of security, lack of self esteem, families separated, hunger and lack of nutrition too). Because we live downtown, we see it almost daily. Men or couples pushing carts with all their earthy things. I think they are so strong to persevere. The Bejapy FB page is challenging everyone to do a giving deed on August 30th, which is tomorrow. I don’t know what I can plan in one day, but I feel I must do something. We gave our bottles away yesterday, so that’s a done deal. Maybe donuts to a shelter? I’ll let you know what transpires. The din of hate and war is almost overwhelming, but kindness, charity and acceptance is on the radar and there is a small ray of light just waiting to blind us all with it’s brightness. I truly believe it, I must believe it. xoxoxox K

        • Even better than doughnuts to a shelter would be fresh fruit platters to a shelter, if somehow it could be managed. I bet they hardly ever get anything fresh. I have wondered about handing out apples, bananas and other treats to people on the streets. When we used to work at the homeless shelter run by local churches, it was always a great experience because so many of the guests would be quite inspiring. I will never forget one Thanksgiving Day when we worked there, as I was checking the guests in I would ask them how they were doing and so many of them would reply “I am really blessed today, how are you?” and you could tell they meant it. That night as we drove home to our nice warm bed in our (relatively) big warm house I thought of those folks lying on thin little mats on the church floor, saying they felt blessed to have a place to stay and a meal to share with us. Quite a powerful Thanksgiving lesson for me. One I have never forgotten.

          • Thank you for that message Julia, you’re so smart and absolutely right. I should pick something healthy to share. I have my Mom In Law with us today in-between our nieces wedding and the reception, so I am planning my good deed for tomorrow. I guess I just take fruit for granted. It’s part of everyones grocery list, so we don’t even think about it. See, the small things to be thankful for hey? But you’re so right, many never get strawberries or melons…I love that idea.
            Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving Day memory. I’ve talked to many people on the street who have a generous smile and are always so thankful for something as simple as your company. When I was working, I often took my lunch to a bench along the river. One older man, looked like hard times knew him well, comes to mind. When he asked if I would mind he sat down, I took the opportunity to initiate a conversation. We talked about the weather first, then what he used to do for a living, then his grandkids. Too bad I had to return to work, I could tell he was lonely. He actually said, “thanks for the visit”. I think I was so surprised. I just assured him it was my pleasure. I hope life treated him gently, but I never saw him again and I wonder. We are so blessed to know the comfort of family, friends and a home. xoK

            • Reading your comment just now reminded me I have some yummy fresh black grapes in the kitchen and I just went to get some more. 😀 Fruit is so delicious! Every time I end up talking to someone in a situation such as you described — whether on the city bus, standing in a line someplace or at a shelter — I am surprised at how often people transcend the stereotypes and connect with all that we have in common. I remember one year when we were touring the botanical gardens with my parents, and there were these young people dressed in “goth” attire there, who were the kindest, most attentive and respectful young adults I had seen in a long time. They held the door open for Mom (she was in a wheelchair) and always stood back to let us go ahead of them as the tour progressed, and studied the notations on the plants, listened politely to the docent’s lectures without interrupting or whispering to each other as so many tourists do, etc. I thought how easy it is to misjudge others by how they appear. I’m not recommending facial piercings or spiky hair or wearing all black, but I do enjoy seeing people prove my prejudices wrong. (I hope we proved theirs wrong too! 😀 )

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