Sunday, July 21, 2013

Music is the Window to the Soul

Noel, me, and Adam: the 3 judges for the competition in 2012.

“Music is the window to the soul.”  This is an often-used quote I hear when people are trying to say how important music is to them.  But there is an event that I have been fortunate to be a part of that clearly shows how true this is.  Last week my husband and I had the chance to serve as judges for the annual Mandaue Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Talent Show.  This was the second year for us and both times have left us feeling inspired and wanting to do more with music in the community.  Thank you so much to Noel Seno (a schoolmate of mine from USJ-R, a colleague of the Dramatics guild, and now counselor of Talamban) and his sister for inviting us to judge.  It really has become one of my favorite events of the year.  Kuya Noel has always been promoting music and dance events in the city as well as many other community events and awareness seminars.  He is always concerned with the youth of our city and want to give them positive venues for them.

The inspiring young couple.   She is holding his lunch as he plays
Last year, Adam and I were a month from our wedding day and stressed out with getting everything done.  Every day was full of errands and meetings.  Judging the talent show was exactly what we needed.  Aside from the music, we witnessed a young teenage couple who were both blind.  The boyfriend played piano for nearly every singing contestant.  He would plunk a few notes to find the right key and then accompany the contestants with amazing accuracy.  A special moment was when he got to accompany his girlfriend, as she was one of the contestants.  She was amazing and went on to win the competition (even beating the boyfriend’s brother!).  The whole day we watched as they supported each other, the girl even held her boyfriend’s lunch as he has to play for an unscheduled contestant.  The whole time they were smiling and you could see true love.  Definitely inspiring to us as we were about to be married.

They taught me how to clap in sign language!
There is something special about watching a person with disabilities sing.  It is a pure and natural expression.  Music has a way of transcending life’s problems.  There is no pretense, no underlying motive; it is about the performer and the music.  There were some contestants who were not able to hold a conversation, but their face lit up while singing and they memorized the entire song.  My heart was touched watching all of the contestants cheer for each other.  When the winners were announced, there was no crying, no pouting, no complaining.  It was all smiles and congratulations to all the winners.  In my mind they were all winners!

I couldn’t help but compare this competition with many of the others I have attended.  In the usual singing competitions, the contestants who don’t win complain about the results and give a fake smile to the winner.  At this competition, you could hardly tell the winner apart from the rest as they were all happy to compete and proud of their accomplishments, winners or not.

No matter disability of not, people express what’s in their heart through music.  The lyrics are what’s in your heart and the melody draws our attention and makes us want to listen closer.  A good song tells a story and a good singer brings that story to life.  The disconnect between the lyrics and the performance are usually what makes the difference between a good singer and a great singer.

One lesson I learned is that life is what you make of it.  You have the choice everyday to wake up and realize your blessings or you can also choose to look at everything in life that you don’t have.  I was so amazed at this event both years, I see nothing but smiles from the contestants, the family and friends, and the organizers.  I learned it is physically impossible not to smile along.  They are so happy and content with their lives, I have no reason to not be the same!

At this year's competition held at J Centre Mall in Mandaue

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