I was born into a family that appreciated music. Everyone played something or sang, or both. On family trips, no matter who we were travelling with; the music was always cranked loud and everybody sang.
As a small child, I loved singing with both my mother and father. My little brother grew into a fabulous bass voice when he matured. Together we enjoyed playing with harmonies.
Although my parents divorced when I was very small, music was a constant in both of their households. I remember watching the Osmond Show as a little girl and thinking Marie was country like my mom, and Donny was rock and roll, like my dad.
My dad was stuck mainly in the 50s and 60s with his rock and roll. Elvis was a favorite with both of my parents. A fact I found curiously entertaining as a young girl witnessing their differences. I couldn’t imagine them listening to music together, but I listened to the same songs in each of their homes.
My mom loved country music. Tammy Wynette taught me how to spell the troubles that my family was experiencing with so many others in the early 1970s.
My own musical tastes followed both of my parents as a child. I was often seen and heard dancing and singing around my parents’ homes to whatever they had on.
My first personal music collection began on 8-track tapes. I received a player and a gift certificate for 4 tapes at a local music store on my 10th Christmas. I picked out ABBA, Steve Miller Band, Jim Croce & The Carpenters.
As I grew into a teen, I soon left my school choir performances behind and began performing guest vocals with bands who were made up of friends, and a ID that said I was 20 years older than I was. I loved music. I loved to dance and sing.
My personal music collection expanded to include every type of rock, hard rock and heavy metal. I also enjoyed any and every alternative or female artist. A few country songs drifted into my collection, but the majority was on the very hard side.
When my children were young, I tried to encourage their musical interests. My oldest son took up a genre of music that I had actually attempted to keep out of our home when he was a child. He is currently pursuing a career in the Southern California Rap/Hip Hop music scene.
My second son took up the guitar, bass guitar and vocals. As an adult he has experimented with other instruments as well.
My youngest child, my daughter, took up the violin at age 8 and fell in love. A child born with perfect pitch; she has a beautiful voice that only falters as much as her confidence.
With all the music in my life, I was looking forward to dancing when I was invited to my first Mid-Singles LDS dance. It was even a theme: 50s.
It was late spring, I had recently been baptized. When I went through my music collection during my repentance and baptismal times; I was unforgiving. Any lyrics that encouraged feelings in me that were not Gospel-centered were deleted off of my hard drive.
I had replaced much of my music with young adult LDS downloads from LDS.org. A Sister teaching the Young Women gave me a CD. I also listened to Gospel country music. Even though many of the Gospel ideas within them were erroneous to my beliefs; praising God was much better than traveling down an audio Highway to Hell.
When I entered the dance at the Stake Center building, I was surprised at both the music playing and the atmosphere. It was completely contradictory to the Standards of Youth card I had come to carry in my wallet. The lights were all darkened to the point I couldn’t see people’s faces well and the music was more than a little on the “racy” side, and only a few 50s songs. The DJ was a young person who was not a member of the church.
As the lyrics of the music began to disturb me more and more; I escaped into the foyer to read The Book of Mormon that was placed there. Having come with a group, I couldn’t leave. But I wanted to.
When I inquired about the music, I was told that no dances have LDS music. No one dances to any type of Gospel music. All dances have popular music. I couldn’t have been more disappointed.
I FEEL the lyrics in music. I am a writer. I HEAR the words. I FEEL the emotion in the strains of the music. When a song speaks of sinful actions or emotions that are not in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; I have the privilege of feeling them.
That does not mean that I do not enjoy dancing with my husband. Dancing is still one of my favorite activities. It is the music choice to dance to that is my issue.
For now… we will dance to the Gospel music from my stereo at home.