New here? My younger daughter, Alex, is a college freshman taking up Technical Theater. She’s a theater lover but she especially loves musical theater. She got hooked on Andrew Lloyd Webber when she was in grade school, the fascination turned into passion and she’s now a Theater major.
You have to understand. I was a theater buff too, I know all those Broadway songs from several decades and my daughters were exposed to them from infancy. We have a collection of audio CDs and DVDs of Broadway and West End productions (some, the movie version). We watch plays and musicals occasionally (not very often as tickets are quite expensive). Even when they were pre-schoolers, I’d take the girls to William Shaw Theater in Shangri-La and we’d watch productions of Repertory Philippines. Now that she’s in college, Alex goes to the theater regularly with her friends.
Despite all that exposure, there are plays and musicals that Alex is not very familiar with. So, she gets more than a little surprised when she hears a song from a play that she’s never even heard of before then realizes that the song sounds strangely familiar. That she actually knows the melody but not necessarily the words.
One time, we were watching something (I can’t remember what but it was a movie version of some Broadway musical) on DVD. Someone was singing, my mind was far away assessing codes that needed to be implemented in one of the blogs, when Alex suddenly said she knew the song. Sooo, okay, it’s not like that was something new. But she continued to chat about how strange it was that so many songs sound familiar even when she’s hearing them for the first time.
She was silent for a few minutes, watching the movie, then she asked suddenly, “Kinakanta mo ba ‘yan nung baby ako (Did you sing that to me when I was a baby)?”
Probably, I said. I often sang them to sleep. And my repertoire is not that wide. I never sang Led Zeppelin songs but if a song’s from a musical play, well… you know, I probably sang it to them.
Then, Alex looked at me sideways, squinting, and asked, “Kinakanta mo ba yung “Do You Hear The People Sing?” nung baby ako (Did you sing “Do You Hear The People Sing?” to me when I was a baby)?
“Kasi ikaw lang ang alam ko na mommy na kinakantahan ang baby ng kanta ng revolution (Because you’re the only mommy I know who’d sing a song of a revolution to a baby)!”
It was a rebellion, actually, because the French Revolution took place some fifty years earlier, but I didn’t correct her anymore. I got the point. I’m sure though that I didn’t sing it as a lullaby but probably on occasions when I wanted to give them an adrenalin rush.
If you’re not familiar with the song, “Do You Hear The People Sing?” is from Claude-Michel Schönberg’s and Alain Boublil’s stage musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. And, yes, I used to sing it — along with many other songs from the musical — when Sam and Alex were very young.
But I wasn’t the one who taught them to raise their fists and march around shouting, “Makibaka! Huwag matakot!” Speedy did that.