Sunday, November 02, 2008

Intermission From the Music

Oh, how sweet it is here! Peace, semi-quiet for a change. Kurtis has now crashed -hopefully for a full night's sleep with no interruptions and Maya is on an overnight retreat. Spending the night she is with Mandy's friend, Jen-Jen, and her family.

And we are kind of basking in the quiet left behind.

Today has been quite a day -filled with lots of singing and trust me, I do mean LOTS of singing! Don't get me wrong, because I am really happy to hear, to realize that Maya is picking up not just words, but melodies too for various songs. For quite sometime now, it is pretty much the norm that she will go around the house, playing with this or that and the whole time, singing some of the little songs she has learned in her school program.

But today's singing is of a different nature and I'll have to give you a little background for it now too.

The church we belong to -Holy Trinity Lutheran in Lanse, PA - has its origins back to the ghost town (about a mile or so down the road from my house) -Peale, PA. If you google Peale, PA, you will even find a really neat website about Peale, the mines, the people who came to that village and then spread out to many, many points beyond and across the country over the years. The original church was founded by Swedish immigrants in the late 1880's and it's those roots, that frequently are remembered in many ways throughout the church year in our parish, even though today, we are a very multi-ethnic church with folks from probably almost every background as members. However, because the parish was formed as a Swedish Lutheran church and there are still a goodly number of us who can lay claim to having Swedes in our family trees, we do pay a lot of attention to this detail.

We don't have a lot of small children in our church these days -not like it was when I was growing up, but we do have enough that my next-door neighbor, who has lots and lots of musical talent, plus being a teacher by profession, has formed a youth choir. Technically, the children in this choir are supposed to be, I think, around 8-9 years old and up. I know she prefers having kids who can at least read and follow the music a bit on their own.

However, because we have noticed Maya's love for singing -and that she can often do fairly well for her age in carrying a tune -we mentioned to Deb about maybe Maya being part of the children's choir. Probably out of being neighborly to us, Deb gratiously allowed Maya to participate in this group. And this morning, she took part in her first practice session with the group -after church was over and before the Sunday School instruction began.

I knew at the beginning of this past week that the song Deb wants the kids to learn is an old favorite of those in our church with Swedish ties. The name of it is "Children of the Heavenly Father" and it ranks as one of my own all-time favorite songs too. I learned this song as a small child as my Grandfather loved it and by the time I was Maya's age, I knew all four verses to it in English as well as the first verse in Swedish. So, knowing Deb wanted the kids to learn this song, I had been working with Maya off and on all week, singing it to her, trying to get her to absorb the melody and the words.

And this morning, when the kids gathered to practice, Mandy said Maya trotted right up front, took a place there with these older children and as Deb played for them, Maya actually tried to recall the words I'd been teaching her along with hitting a correct note here and there too!

She came home with a copy of the music, all four verses and even the first verse written out -phonetically -in Swedish for the kids to try to memorize that as well.

And all afternoon, all evening -during supper even -we were treated to her trying, over and over, to sing this song for us.

Here's the actual words to the first verse:
Children of the Heavenly Father, Safely in his bosum gather.
Nestling bird nor star in heaven, Such a refuge er was given.

And here's a little of how Maya has been singing those lines:
Children of hean'ly fadder, Safely in booster gadder.
Nessing birds star in heav'n sa res-uge gi'en.

She has even been trying to imitate me and singing the Swedish words to but those aren't coming through too clearly yet -mostly gibberish -the REAL gibberish, not what someone who can't understand or who has never heard Swedish spoken or sung would realize it to be a foreign language. No, the Swedish right now on Maya's part is strictly her own language there!

Trust me when I tell you this, Mandy and I are both really excited, really proud of her interest, her ability to learn as many of the words as she has already done. And, we both know too that the only way she will learn all of it -and hopefully manage to get more and more of the words in there correctly -along with the melody -is by singing it to us, to herself, over and over again.

But boy, by 8:30 tonight when Jen-Jen came by to pick her up to take her to spend the night at her place, I don't know which of us -me or Mandy -was really anxious to get her out the door, out of the house and set to entertain Jen and her kids the rest of the evening! (We did warn Jen before they left though as to what she could expect to hear, so it wouldn't come as a complete shock to her eardrums.

And one other little item of note too -at Sunday School this morning, Molly -the nursery class teacher -was talking to Mandy about Maya -and Molly's older daughter and that they will be going to kindergarten together next fall at the local school. Molly also mentioned to Mandy that another Mom from our church who has a daughter about 7 months older than Maya and who is in kindergarten this year, has just within the past week or two stopped crying every day about the bus trip, to and from school.

However, when Molly mentioned this to Mandy she didn't say the word "Cry" but rather she spelled it out - "C.R.Y." and Maya immediately interjected there with a question for them "Who's crying?" Mandy said the look on Molly's face was pure shock and then, as she regained her composure, she said to Mandy, "Well, looks like you can no longer spell things out at your house, can you?"

How true that is too!

Not that Maya knows how to spell everything. Far from it! But she does know enough, can spell enough words that she often surprises us when she recognizes something we are spelling out here -or I should say, we WERE spelling, as we rarely do that any more.

And, we have also learned that there are a lot of words Maya can read -sounds them out -and she pays particular attention to when either of us is typing on the computer as often she will stop and look at the words on the screen and has been known to pick up on several words in a sentence, even a paragraph to where she can darned near piece together the content of what we are writing there. Scary, isn't it?

By the looks of things -since she picks up on words being spelled a lot now, also on words she sees and tries to read -often with a lot of success -there is another song that comes to my mind now.

"No where to run to; No where to hide!"


Kat said...

Aww. That is so cute! I love her version of the lyrics. hehe :)

Sandi McBride said...

Oh my, seems little Maya is ruling the roost and that should be music to your ears, lol! I love that she is in the youth choir...good for her!

Gene Bach said...

Now you need to put an instrument in her hand. She obviously likes music so the best thing you could do is give her some tools to work with. Everybody I have ever seen who became great at any instrument started when they were young. Get'er done!

Karen Magill said...

I love to hear of younger people getting interested in music. I am not musically inclined myself but I am trying to get a career going writing promo for it.

Music is one way to calm fears and for just a little while make everything seem right in the world. It is a form of escape that brings so much joy to others.

Maggie May said...

Glad Maya loves singing so much. it is very good for the soul and well being!
Your Church sounds interesting. Founded by Swedes.

Morgan Mandel said...

I still remember being in the Glee Club in high school. It was a lot of fun, even though I was an alto and wished I were a soprano.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

One More Thing - I've tagged you!!
Check my Tuesday post for details

Morgan Mandel

Shelby said...

hey there hi there ho there! I've been so busy I haven't visited much and I've missed being here!!

happy day!! :)

Mary said...


It sounds to me like one of Maya's natural talents will be in words and spelling. She is a smart girl and I would guess that she is high functioning autistic. Is that correct?

I'm glad that Maya was allowed to sing in the choir. I'm sure she will do well with the songs she is expected to sing. Sounds like you have a little songbird on your hands. lol

Take care and have a great week, my friend.


Carol said...

Maya's one smart little cookie! You're all going to have to eat your 'Wheaties' to stay ahead of this little one! It's so obvious how much you adore her!! You're both very blessed.

mlh said...

Aww! Maya's version of the song is wonderful. And I love the history you have with the church!