By Jim Heffernan
Drawing laughs to the music of time…
The 3-year-old boy joined a host of other children in the front of the church for the Christmas season children’s sermon, popular in so many congregations these days.
I heard this second-hand, but I understand that somehow the minister was relating a Christian message using timepieces – analog, digital – to illustrate the points. Holding up a digital clock, the children were asked if they knew what it was. The 3-year-old perked right up, and answered that such a clock was used to time his “time outs” at home.
Right he was. The boy is my grandson, and I’m happy to report he garnered his first laugh from an assembled audience, and he told his parents later that he liked it when everyone laughed.
I know how he feels. I had a similar experience at an early age, although I think I was somewhat older – maybe six or seven.
It too was in a church program and I was on stage being interviewed by an adult woman who asked me various questions, one of which was, did I like music? I said I did.
“What kind of music?” asked the interviewer?
“Certainly not Shostakovich,” I recall saying.
Big laugh from the audience. I was the talk of the church.
Why Shostakovich? It was the beginning of the Cold War, and in those days anything Russian was said to be bad. I don’t know where I’d heard about the Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, but if he was Russian he must be bad, my juvenile mind had determined.
Still, getting a laugh from an audience makes an impression on you.
One of these days, that 3-year-old will know how to tell all kinds of time and take it for granted, but he’ll probably always remember the Sunday he made the congregation laugh.
As for me, I grew to love the music of Shostakovich almost as much as that of Prokofiev – long before the Cold War ended.
One of the ironies of the cold war was that the theme song of the radio show, "The FBI in peace and war", was from Prokofiev's "Love of Three Oranges".
How well I remember that arresting theme, Mel. Of course it wasn't until years later that I learned what piece it was and that it was by Prokofiev. There's irony there, in the days of J. Edgar. I've learned over years of listening to classical MPR that whenever they play Shostakovich or Prokofiev, I'm gonna like it. Especially Prokofiev's score for "Alexander Nevsky." Poor Shostakovich really got beat up by Stalin.
Hope you have an enjoyable holiday.
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