Category Archives: Music

Letting Go Of Parental Guilt

A few months ago I had the opportunity to go to an Eric Church concert.  It happened to fall on a weeknight… and with less than 2 days notice my wife couldn’t go because it was her late night at work.

That meant if I went our kids would have to fend for themselves for the night.  They’re old enough to be by themselves but I was conflicted.

Eric Church is one of my favorite country artists but parental guilt, and the feeling that I needed to be there for my kids, made me want to turn the offer of tickets down.

In fact, I was going to turn it down… but before I could… I was told that not only did I have tickets but I was on the list for a backstage meet-and-greet.  It was too late to back out so I called a friend to see if he wanted to go.

I still felt a little guilty leaving the kids at home and heading to the show but I’m glad I went.  It was a great show, I had fun hanging out with a friend, and my girls got along just fine for a night without my wife and I around.

That night… and the fact I almost turned it down… got me thinking a lot about parental guilt.  How I know there have been times that I’ve let it get the best of me and missed some opportunities because of it.

Since then I’ve tried to let go of the parental guilt.  To realize that me being gone one night isn’t going to scar my kids… and the independence is probably good for them.  To their credit, they’ve actually supported a few nights out that my wife and I have had recently.

A year ago my wife and I would’ve turned down weeknight tickets to Sound Of Music and Jersey Boys, opting to stay home but no more.  I’ve realized that having time for ourselves and each other is just as important as having time with our kids.

Are you good at letting go of parenting guilt?

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Album Review: The Breaker by Little Big Town

Little Big Town has a new album out called The Breaker.  It may be a new album but it feels so familiar to me.  It’s filled with the signature harmonies you’d expect from Little Big Town… but when I got past that I could hear the sound of a lot of other artists blended in.

Throughout the 12 tracks on The Breaker album I caught glimpses of Kacey Musgraves, The Eagles, U2, The Beatles, Wilson Phillips, Dolly Parton, TobyMac, Rascal Flatts, and others.  It’s kind of like a musical gumbo… and I really like it.

This is one of those albums you can put on and listen from beginning to end without the urge to skip a song or two.  If you already like Little Big Town you won’t be disappointed in The Breaker… and if you aren’t currently a LBT fan you soon will be.

Here are a few of my favorite songs on the album:

Happy People –  This song just makes me smile.  It’s got a fun happy melody and a great message.

Free – There’s a lot of truth in this anti-materialism anthem.

We Went To The Beach – This song will take you back to Summers when you were a kid… even if your memories don’t match up perfectly to those described.

Better Man – You can really tell from the lyrics that Taylor Swift wrote this song but Little Big Town makes it their own.

Beat Up Bible – This is a song of faith, family, and truth.

When Someone Stops Loving You – Lots of emotion in this relatable song.

The Breaker – The are plenty of songs out there from the perspective of a person who got dumped. This one’s from the person who initiated the break-up.   It’s the perfect song to end the album.

Have you heard Little Big Town’s album The Breaker? What’s your favorite song on it?

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Review: The Sound Of Music – Des Moines Civic Center

Ok.  Confession time.  Until this production of The Sound Of Music I had never seen it all the way through.  Hard to believe, I know. Especially for a guy with a theatre minor and who has been involved in more shows than I can remember.

For whatever reason, my path just never crossed with a production of The Sound Of Music before.  The songs were familiar, I had seen bits and pieces of the movie, and thought I had an idea of the storyline… but until now I had nothing to tie them all together.

The performance I saw February 7, 2017 at Des Moines Civic Center had everything you could want in a night at the theatre.

Fantastic scenery, great acting, and outstanding music… both the singing and the orchestra.  I could see a little bit of the orchestra conductor from our seats reminding me that the music wasn’t pre-recorded.  It wasn’t distracting, though. To me it added to the live experience of the show.

I won’t rehash The Sound Of Music storyline.  There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with it.  What I will do is share a few of the things I really enjoyed about this performance.

All the actors were great but there were 3 in particular that drew my attention whenever they were onstage.

The first was Melody Betts as The Mother Abbess.  Her voice filled the theatre whenever she sang…  especially on “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”.  She played the role of the disciplinarian well… but with hints of compassion and a playful friend.

Charlotte Maltby as Maria Ranier was outstanding!  I loved her playful energy and chemistry with the von Trapp children.  Her singing “The Sound Of Music” in Act 1, Scene 2 was one of the highlights of the show for me.

Six year old Anika Lore Hatch as Gretl von Trapp was also fun to watch.  Seeing someone so young and talented was pretty cool. She didn’t have many lines or solos… but she nailed the ones she did have.

The scenery and set changes were outstanding.  I was really impressed with how fluid and seamless each scene flowed into the next.  It really kept the pace of the show up.  I was equally impressed with the attention to details.  The rays of light shining through the high chapel windows in the wedding scene were awesome.

One thing I always like in any show is a few surprises.  This one had a few that both first-timers like me and those familiar with the show enjoyed.  An unexpected entrance by the von Trapp boys caught me off guard and had the audience laughing.

Speaking of the audience… it was fun being included in the show. There was one scene in Act 2 where the audience applause became an actual part of the performance.

The show ran about 2 hours and 45 minutes… including a 20 minute intermission.  It didn’t feel like a long show and I wasn’t quite ready for it to end.  When it did, the nearly sold out, opening night crowd rewarded the cast with a standing ovation.

The Sound Of Music is playing at the Des Moines Civic center 2/7/17 through 2/12/17.  You can learn more about this show and other upcoming shows on the Des Moines Performing Arts website.

The morning after the performance my wife and I saw, I got to meet the actors that played Liesl and Rolf.  They stopped by my radio station to do a few interviews.  It was fun to talk to them… and congratulate them in person for their great performances.

What’s your favorite song from The Sound Of Music?

 

***Disclaimer: I was provided with free press night tickets.  All opinions are my own.

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