Today, March 1st, marks my second year of participation in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge created and sponsored by TwoWrtingTeachers.org. It is a wonderful, supportive online community of writers who share pieces of their life through blogging everyday during the month of March. I am both privileged and proud to be part of this community.
Traveling was easy yesterday, even though it was the last day in February when winter winds, snows, and sub-zero temperatures can affect the mid-west. But, none of that was happening. It was a mild day with temperatures in the 40’s and partly sunny skies. I was headed to Iowa State University to see my oldest son and share in a birthday present he had been given.
After a dinner at a favorite establishment called The Cafe, where we both enjoyed meals made with marinated hanger steak, we killed a bit of time and then headed to Stephens Auditorium to see Motown the Musical! The story of Barry Gordy, songs of love, heartache, political unrest, and celebration filled the stage for over two hours. It was a lively, colorful performance filled with many talented singers and dancers. The story included the tumultuous relationships of The Supremes and Diana Ross, among other performers Gordy and Smokey Robinson helped to fame. We saw a very young talent as the incomparable Michael Jackson with his brothers, the Jackson Five, and heard the smooth songs of Marvin Gaye. At times it was raucous, and filled with turmoil. Other moments were tender and loving as you saw the relationship between Gordy and Ross develop.
After the show, we talked about the performance which be both enjoyed immensely! I had a virtual music history lesson and learned things I never knew – like how Motown Records got its name! What surprised me was that I could easily pinpoint the timeline due to some of the historical events that were flashed upon the stage or portrayed by the choice of songs. My son liked the song “War.” I liked, “Please Mr. Postman” just because of how it was portrayed on stage. The history of Motown Records naturally involved the period of the early civil rights movement in the United States with the assassination of Martin Luther King. You did not have to be told, but rather saw the impact it had on these performers, some of whom lovingly called each other “Black.” Marvin Gaye was especially affected by these events, it seemed, and wanted to help effect change with his music. We both thoroughly enjoyed the actor that portrayed him, singing with a voice so smooth you could actually imagine it to be Mr. Gaye, himself.
For me, the highlight of the show was when Diana Ross sang Reach out and Touch, encouraging the whole audience to join hands and sing along with the chorus! We willingly joined in – quite an accomplishment for two introverts! Boy, do we need more of these lyrics today ! Com’ on now, sing it with me! It filled me with joy!
“Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make the world a better place if you can!” – Diana Ross, 1970.
We have developed a habit, my oldest son and I, of going to concerts or musicals together. We both enjoy music and the performing arts. I hope it will become more than a habit, but a tradition. I am already wondering what we will go see next!