Music That Moves ME Memories

Have a musical memory that you’d like to share? This June we will post listener submitted recollections here and share a few on Maine Public's Facebook page. Send your memory to us at

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Our listeners’ favorite music recollections:

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The last several years I have had the opportunity to perform with Kevin Siegfried’s Portsmouth Singers as part of the Maine Festival of American Music at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. We have sung programs of tunes that Kevin has transcribed from the original Shaker notation, along with some of his choral arrangements of Shaker songs.

A lot of music moves me, but in some of my best moments I am an activist and music that moves me the most is activist. The folksinger Jim Page hails from Seattle and has spent most of his life writing activist music and performing in the Northwest. Jim Page was inspired by Woodie Guthrie and, yes, a young Bob Dylan. One of his songs updates Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

[Play] “Come gather round me, hear my sad story. I know you think you’ve heard some one sing it before me, but it’s an old song, I had to change it, times ain’t what they used to be.”

This past Spring, I attended a symposium on WWII at the local senior college. My parents were part of the “Greatest Generation” and I was hoping to gain insight into their lives at that time.

The conference was extremely well-organized and informative. What moved me the most was listening to the panels of WWII Vets sharing their experiences. The other part was listening to some of the music that was popular at the time.

My husband Michael died suddenly at age 36 in a diving accident on December 6th 2003. Music had always been a huge part of my life and our relationship. Before moving to Maine in 2000, we lived for a time in London and New York City and went to hear live music and collected many albums. After he died I found it too painful to listen to "our music." I needed a new soundtrack in my life. I’m a location scout for photo shoots and TV commercials - so I spend a lot of time in my car looking for locations in Maine and New England and music is an essential companion.

Story about Hugo Alfven who composed Three Swedish Rhapsodies. This story is about Swedish Rhapsody No. 1

Welcome, Mr. Alfven…

My mother died in 2008 after a long heroic battle with a rare form of parathyroid cancer. She never seemed discouraged or depressed by her fate and lived long enough to meet her 3rd great grand child, Molly, who was named after her. Molly-the-Younger brought Molly-the-Elder great joy even as she lay in her hospital bed fighting to recover from one of the many experimental treatments she suffered through. She wanted the doctors to confirm that they’d be writing papers about her illness that she trusted would help others fighting the disease.

Music that moves me: La Momma Morta from Andrea Chenier

When I was 25, my mother was dying.

I had never lived through the death of someone close to me. I was lucky. For 25 years I had squeaked through life pretty easily. I’m the youngest of seven. I was protected. And fate seemed to know it and agree that it was okay to keep me sheltered.

In the summer of 1972 I was an 18 year old growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My best friend and I regretted that we were too young to have attended the Woodstock Music Festival. We saw the movie at least twice and of course had bought the two album set. We were aching for a similar coming of age experience. When we heard there was a Philadelphia Folk Festival coming, we decided we had to go even if it wasn’t a “rock” event.

My dream

Armadillos don’t like the rain. So when it started to rain sometime soon after midnight Paulo, his dog, and I found refuge in a culvert to wait out the downpour.

I had met Paulo through Father Eric, a priest at the Benedictine Monastery in the small western Brazilian town of Mineiros. Father Eric, a lanky farm boy from the American Midwest, combined ministering with agricultural outreach in western Brazil. He also took a shine to me and pledged to help me on my PhD research on armadillos and anteaters.

My earliest fond memories all revolve around my mom and dad, my uncles, and family sing-alongs. I would have to try to sit patiently while the grown ups talked, until FINALLY my Uncle Frank would move to the piano stool, Uncle Bill, Dad and the rest of us would belt out whatever tune he was playing, and I was in heaven. Dancing was a big part of the sing alongs as far as my dad was concerned, He would grab my mom or one of us kids and twirl around the floor to “Casey Would Waltz” or “Me and My Shadow.” I loved it all.

JS Bach’s Toccata and Fugue for organ, in D Minor

Nancy my wife and I, had been enjoying our spring driving tour through southern France and were now heading north to Bruges, Belgium, for Easter. We stopped briefly for lunch near the Belgian border and in conversation with a friendly waiter, mentioned our Bruges destination. He tactfully mentioned that he hoped we had reservations there. If not, he advised, it was unlikely that we would find a decent place to stay due to the crowds we would undoubtedly encounter. We had not.

I first heard it as a freshman in college, at a fellow voice student’s recital. It wasn’t like anything I had heard before…

“It has become the time of evening, when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently, and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds’ hung havens, hangars.”

Who were these people, this composer, this poet? How could they reach into my soul like this? I was lost in time, in space, in beauty.

1984 The height of the AIDS epidemic. So many brilliantly talented people struck down in their prime. We will never fully comprehend what we lost, but the loss was staggering.

My friend Keith Avedon, composer, musician, artist, (cousin to Richard, yes, that Richard) chose to die after a valiant struggle, because as beautiful as the world was there was no longer a place for him in it. AIDS had taken everything from him, including his sight.

In 1994, in the wake of major life changes, I fulfilled a dream I had held since 1963 and volunteered for the United States Peace Corps. My deep belief in the Corps and the trust shown me in the selection process laid my path to Poland, four years after the Berlin Wall fell. After training, I was assigned to teach English in a language teachers’ college near the Czech border. Leaving Maine, however, was fraught with difficulties: separation from my family, my high school colleagues, and, especially the amazing young woman with whom I had established a loving relationship.