Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Top of the World

Back in 2001, one of my favorite magazines, The Utne Reader, had some of their their staffers make Greatest Hits lists, which were meant to be all inclusive: events, songs, albums, works of art, phenomena, people, etc. I used that idea to formulate my own Top Ten list once and then, as a creative writing assignment, asked my students to do the same.

At the top of my Greatest Hits List are summer Boston Pops Symphony Concerts at Tanglewood in Massachusetts. I remember the summer Arthur Fiedler conducted and my parents brought sleeping bags for us; my brother and I snuggled under the stars to music that filled the night air, cozy and content in that deep-down-in-your-soul kind of way. It's not just outdoor summer concerts which top my list, but the Family Togetherness as well--memories which as a parent I hope we are creating for our own kids.

Once in a while, I get close to some of the magical moments I felt as a child. Tonight I went to the Three Girls and Their Buddy concert (with two of my buddies, natch) at Humphrey's outdoor venue on the bay (my season opener, if you will, since I have tickets to two more concerts there this summer: Joan Baez and The Indigo Girls--duh!).

The highlight of the concert was Patty Griffin singing "Top of the World." Her earnest face, sweet voice, and aching lyrics inspired silent reverence from the crowd. The best I can do to recreate the moment is offer this clip of Patty performing the haunting song last year:

"Everyone's singing; we just want to be heard..."

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