This is Maria from Sound of Music. She is one of the earliest musical theatre characters I was introduced to. When you first meet Maria, you realize that she is strongly connected to nature and that she loves to sing. You also learn that she is training to be a nun. But things do not come as planned. Maria is not a very good trainee and mother abbess think it is a good idea for Maria to become governess to this Captain’s seven children. Well Maria does not like this idea one bit.
However, Maria decides to become the governess even though she would rather not. She comes to the house and realizes that in fact the Captain is in fact strict. She does not follow his rules, and decides to go by how she thinks a governess should be. The children do not warm up to her right away. The children always have played tricks on their governesses and do those tricks on Maria. As time goes by, the children warm up to her as they get to know her. They love her more once she teaches them to sing bringing more happiness into their life. Maria is very gentle and loving around the house. The Captain gets angry at her a couple of time and at one point almost sends her back to the abbey, but ultimately doesn’t after hearing his children sing and finds happiness and music back in his house.
As many know I am a massive musical fan. I do feel like the meaningful musicals of my life represent who I am. Trying to describe the reason why I believe that way is like untangling a ball of yarn or trying to find a needle in a haystack. The meaningful musicals in a way show what kinds of things you are literally drawn to. The emotional connection is what makes you drawn to the characters, songs, and plot lines.
Some of the meaningful musicals have aspects that I actually relate to. In Wicked for instance, I have a very personal relationship with Elphaba. I see a lot of myself in Elphaba. That is one why in which Wicked represents who I am. It even shows I am drawn to stories about a strong friendship. In this musical, I am also drawn to a love triangle, which is so fascinating and adds even more texture. This musical does show that I am drawn more to complex plots compared to simple plots. Wicked shows I am also drawn to spectacle and dance-natured musicals and shows I love fantasy worlds.
Than there is Rent. That musical in a lot of ways does represent who I am. It shows how accepting I am. It shows I love a feeling of community and shows that I love life. It shows that I love having a close knit group of friends.
Of course, there is Les Mis. It took me a while to know why I was emotionally drawn to it. The first time with the movie, I didn’t even know how to respond due to being shocked and confused due to realizing it was a tragedy while watching it. The second round, I knew there was something special about Les Mis. I really wanted to know why it makes me feel uplifted. One thing in this musical that describes me is that I have a deep connection to those living in poverty and Les Mis is clearly focused on that community.
Les Mis also shows that I tend to be drawn to complex plots. Just like Wicked, I am drawn to a love triangle as well. The love triangle in Les Mis adds an amazing texture and emotional nature to the show. I am even drawn to Valjean’s journey to redemption of becoming a better person and continuing to grow in spirit. Even the uprising is something I am drawn to especially due to the relationship found between all the different students and their passion.
The musical shows that I am drawn to things that are connected to spirituality. I have a strong spirit and Les Mis is home to this incredible underlying spirituality. The spirituality is what I am emotionally connected to and why I am not sick and tired of the musical by now. If the spirituality was never discovered, than the show would feel too depressing.
I even love Beauty and the Beast and that one is meaningful as well. Each of the musicals I have said so far seem have a romantic aspect. When I saw the 2017 movie version of Beauty and the Beast, I realized that I am a lot like Belle. I am a bit of a bookworm and am quite different. I don’t tend to judge beauty from the outside, but from the inside. Belle learns that through the Beast. It shows I am someone who loves Disney. I feel like romance in Disney shows some magic especially because of young couples.
Even in the case of Annie, it shows I am an optimistic person. It even shows I am a caring person as well. Annie takes in a stray dog and adopts him and cares about Molly.
Another meaningful musical is Newsies. This is another Disney musical. It shows I am someone who tends to love dance in a musical. I am emotionally drawn to all of the Newsies due to their relationship. It shows I tend to be drawn to plot about people standing up for what they believe in and that aspect is also shown through Wicked and Les Mis.
One more meaningful musical of my life is Sound of Music. It shows I love the importance of family. It shows that I have a love for music.
Of all the meaningful musicals, they share some things in common. They all provide me with an emotional connection. The emotional connection is key to many things in a musical. Loving the songs mean you have an emotional connection to the material. All of the meaningful musicals are joyful. Above are some of the meaningful musicals of my life.
Do you believe meaningful musicals represent who you are?
Just last night, my dad and I watched a movie about Hillsong United. The thing I loved about this movie is that it reminded me of why I love contemporary Christian music. It showed how those songs can help heal and transform people. Throughout the movie, I was able to recognize some of the songs. I have loved contemporary Christian music for a long time now and the love truly began at an Episcopalian Conference Center called Kanuga. Kanuga was the place where I truly let God enter my life and where I have gotten to truly know him.
Here’s why I love Christian music. I strongly connect to it and it develops my spirituality so well. Whenever I sing to those songs, I can feel my Holy Sprit fill up. At the Gathering, my school’s student-led worship service, you can feel the energy from everyone in the room. Those songs remind me of who God is and reminds me of the importance in Him in my life. I connect so well so contemporary Christian music.
Out of all genres of music, I can fully connect to both musicals and contemporary Christian music and without any of them, I wouldn’t have discovered the power of music. No other genre makes me connect as well. I feel like with other genres of music, all I do is listen to them. But when I listen to the two main genres that I love, my connections are so much stronger and I feel like I am not just listening to music.
I am so thankful for my deep love for Christian music and musicals because without them, I do not know where I would be right now. They truly taught me the power of music. Christian music did teach me that music can bring back memories and can make you feel connected to God. A lot of the Christian songs that I love remind me of the different memories I had at Kanuga. Part of the Kanuga songs remind me of Parish weekends and while the rest are more for Winterlight.
The lyrics below are from a Christian song I learned to love at Kanuga. It is called “The Servant Song” and it reminds me of Kanuga each time I listen to it, but it also reminds me of the Bristol Pilgrimage that I went on two years ago. I sing contemporary Christian music every week at school at our student-led worship service.
On the other hand, musicals really did teach me the emotional impact of music especially considering the shows that are still so new and fresh in my life. Every single musical has more than one emotion in it. Some have a few and while some have a lot. The five emotions that tie musicals together are excitement, joy, love, heartbreak and sadness, which are five of the most common emotions found in them. I grew up with comedies and happy musicals. I grew up with musicals like Annie, Sound of Music, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Grease, Aladdin and Wicked.
Wicked is the musical where I first started to understand the emotional side of musicals. That was back in 2006 when I first saw it on Broadway with my mom. I was only 12 at the time and I do remember “Popular” being my favorite song. This was the only show that I grew up with where I actually remember sad being part of. The main emotions growing up were basically excitement, love, joy, and sad. Heartbreak wasn’t there because I didn’t understand what it meant for a song to be heartbreaking. “I’m Not That Girl” was just a sad song and I strongly disliked “No Good Deed” at the time.
Even though I learned to love two sad musicals, I found a way to still describe all musicals as joyful and I did that by describing them in the best positive way I can. Those two sad musicals are Les Mis and Rent. I fell in love with Rent by listening to the songs though Pandora and I fell in love with it first, but didn’t realize it was sad until after I had already seen the Les Mis movie. I was able to realize that they both have a positive nature. Rent is really a story about what to do with the life that you have and how do you measure it. It teaches you to live in the moment and measure your life in love and it really is a celebration of life. Les Mis is really a story about hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity and redemption. Without Les Mis, I may never have actually understood what it means for a musical song to be heartbreaking.
Other emotions I found in musicals are hope, anger, compassion, haunting, uplifting, loneliness, guilt, desperation, devastation, depressing, fear and uncomfortable. I still cannot believe that musicals range from being very happy all the way down to very sad, which is more layers than one might find. Annie would be a very happy show even though it has one sad song in it, which is “Maybe”, but that song isn’t that sad at all. Annie is very happy because it is pretty much all joy from start to finish and barely has any conflict. On the other side, Les Mis would be very sad. Musicals are like a series of ladders overlapping each other with each ladder representing something different.
There is a huge difference between the emotions within a show compared to whether a show is happy or not. Musicals have come such a long way since shows like Annie and Sound of Music which are both very happy and simple and those two do not have that many emotions in it at all. Eventually they built up to a show like Les Mis, which is a lot more powerful and filled with this incredible wide range of emotions starting with uplifting building eventually to depressing. In the past I thought a song could not push past sad, but it sure did in Les Mis. I know deep down that musicals will continue to play games on me and change because I am still young and have yet to discover other new ones.
I don’t Doubt that I will stop loving Christian Music and musicals. I truly learned about the power of music through them. They taught me how music can bring back memories and the emotional impact that music can bring.
Life is very difficult, but so beautiful and wonderful. Even though life is fragile, it is so worth it even if our time on earth is so short. It doesn’t seem like life is short, but it really is. Life is so fragile because there are times when we are going to enter a period of darkness and during those times, it can feel like there is no hope. But in reality, there is always hope even in some very painful times in our life. Life is chaotic because you never know where it will lead you.
Life is like a gigantic roller coaster. There are so many twists and turns. Things happen in life that we have no control over. We need to know how to handle periods of darkness. There are many healthy ways to heal and thrive during those moments. One simple way is just to be out in nature. Even music has a wonderful way of healing. Just coloring or reading can allow you to cope. The same goes for writing and I believe this blog has helped me cope with the stress of college.
The chaotic nature of life also comes from time management. As a college student, I understand how important time management is. It can be hard to balance the academics with all of the social aspects. I love to learn, but at the same time I can dislike studying at times. I spent a good chunk of this semester writing a gigantic paper in Sociological Theory. The social aspect of college is just as important as the academics. I have been able to volunteer with my club, hike, and even nights of arts and crafts. Even hanging out with friends is very important. I try to stay ahead of the game in order to find time to do all of the social aspects. College is one of the best parts of my life and my school has a wonderful community.
Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tired and true, with Thanksgiving I’ll be a living, sanctuary for you
Sanctuary is a song that I first learned in elementary school. It was one of the first songs I heard at Kanuga. Kanuga is an Episcopalian Conference Center up in the mountains. The words may be simple, but the song is incredible. It is an easy song to learn because there are not many words. This song has special meaning to me and I love singing it whenever I listen to it.