5 03 2018


Last Sunday I had the privilege to say a few words at the 25th Annual Cape May County Elementary and Junior High Honors Choir held at The Performing Arts Center in Cape May Court House.  Miss June Camizzi asked me to do it again after I had participated in the event 8 years ago. I did joke with June as to why it took so long to have me back. June to me is a dedicated and remarkable young woman who puts her heart and soul into everything she does. It has been a true gift to have had her working with us here at The Lighthouse Church. I love to say that June is busting out all over wherever she goes and she leaves a positive song and refreshing breeze in your soul when she leaves! 

 June reminded me that I only had five to seven  minutes to wax eloquently about a subject I could literally spend hours upon. People who know me have no doubt that I do believe in music just as much as I believe in baseball, apple pie and Chevy Novas! I was born with a transistor radio attached to my soul. Music has always been God’s gift to me and an essential element in my journey.

 One of my niches that I have a knack for is rewriting lyrics to fit any mood. For my repeat performance, I took the words of the “Sound Of Music” classic “My Favorite Things” and shared with the kids my love for music. You may sing along with me if you choose to. 

My words went something like this: “Broadway and Gospel and all those great jingles…

Playing my records, those 45 singles… “Looks Like We Made It,” Barry Manilow Sings…

These are a few of my favorite things… The Beatles and Motown- the Disco and Bee Gees…

The classics and folk songs and tunes from the 60’s… Sinatra at Midnight, Whatever he sings… These are a few of my favorite things… When the horns blow and the keys change… When I’m feeling sad… I simply start singing my favorite songs and life doesn’t seem so bad!”

 I believe God has used music to literally save my life. I wouldn’t have made it without it. I literally have music on from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed at night.  And if you want to know why so many of us love to have music on when we are doing our work, one only needs to go back to the Bible to read that our Creator himself had the angels singing all the while he was designing and putting this earth and all of us together! God put it right in our wiring and DNA! Like it or not, we were all destined to add some music to our day!  Do you have the radio on as we speak?

 I cringe when I hear Educational Leaders talk about removing music from school curriculum.  I have to be honest with you.  I can’t remember squat about what happened in Geometry class- a subject everyone assured me that I would need for the rest of my life!  All I recall of Geometry is how it used to make my head ache!  But I will never forget how my Music Teacher had tears in her eyes back in 1970 when she was sharing her love and passion over a new Simon and Garfunkel song called “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”  I know every word to that tune and it has comforted me on many a lonely night through the years. 

 It was only appropriate that the Honors Choir finished up with the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  For only a song like that could transform the black and white drabness of a Kansas farm where the only highlight of the day is helping Uncle Henry and Auntie Em count chicks- and turn it into a mystical, magical, and colorful wonderland called Oz. 

 The lyrics of the song were written by Yip Harbug, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. His real name was Isidore Hochberg, and he grew up in a Yiddish-speaking, Orthodox Jewish home in New York. The music was written by Harold Arlen, a Jew whose family immigrated from Lithuania. Together they put together a song that has won awards and garnered global fame. Among other things they won an Oscar in 1940 for “Best Music, Original Song” for “The Wizard of Oz” and the song was voted the number one song of the 20th century by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 Many of us can relate to the song; we have all experienced troubles in our lives, but it is when you apply this song to the Jewish people and the Holocaust that the song takes on a whole new meaning. The song was first published in 1939, at a time when the Jews in Europe were coming under increased hostility. Their freedoms were being taken away, their identity being dragged through the dirt, and many of them were feeling isolated. They were trapped, unable to “fly”. The song is about hope, that the bad times will one day be over. It is this feeling of hope within the song that we can all relate to and it is hope that helped the Jewish people through the Holocaust.

Yip did not know what the future held for the Jewish people when he wrote this song. The lyrics “chimney tops” take on a harrowing new meaning now that we know the horrors of the Holocaust. I am sure many Jews looked to the skies above Auschwitz’s chimneys, longing for the day they were free. It seems that our world is once again on the edge of dark times. This song reminds us that though we face uncertain events, we still have hope, and our hope is in God.

Music keeps us believing that far, far away- behind the moon- and beyond the clouds there is a pot of gold for those who never stop choosing to sing!  So I wish that every song you sing today be your favorite tune.  I wish you music to cry with, to dance with, to fly with and to make romance with!  “And when I heard about passion that was singing to me about a love of a fashion that I never heard anywhere else; that’s when I said- ‘got to get some of that for myself…’  You are beautiful- beautiful music!”  Thank you Lord for the beautiful music!  And thank you kids for not being afraid to learn it and then share it!         



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