Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Barry

Dear Barry,

Hope your upcoming birthday is the best ever. My husband and I got to see you in concert for the first time when you came to Atlanta in March. You can’t imagine how glad we were that you got out of Vegas for that show, especially having to reschedule it. I was going on 6 when “Mandy” was released and it’s one of the first songs I remember. My entire life is full of memories and fun and comforts, whatever was needed, associated with your music – and I just realized that this probably sounds like every last one of millions of letters that you’ve already gotten. It’s just as true for me too.

Atlanta was special because travel has its limits for us – we have a small child at home and a Las Vegas vacation isn’t the best idea for toddlers. But if somehow a way becomes available, we’ll be there. In the mean time we’re having a ball with the DVD from the 100th show.

Our 2-year-old got hooked on your music very suddenly. For a while, even though she was little, she didn’t show any interest in music, even pieces written for children, though her little friends did. I blew it off, thinking she was just a late bloomer in that area. One afternoon I put on your first TV special DVD to enjoy while working around the house. My daughter was engrossed in her toys and I thought she’d ignore it. Instead, about 2 bars into “It’s A Miracle” she drops her toys and just stares at the TV. She watched the entire special, asked to see it again, then asked for other discs in the TV special series. She couldn’t get enough. This went on for weeks. (Weeks? Hell, months later it’s still a routine in our house.) She started picking out favorites, learning lyrics, and dancing to the uptempo numbers. Finally after starting to absorb your music, she started paying attention to children’s’ music. But you’re still the favorite.

It’s hard to describe that moment when a door seemed to open for her and she finally understood how much fun music was. Since then with the use of the concert videos, she’s learned the names of musical instruments, how to learn lyrics, and how to clap along in rhythm to whatever’s playing. Because she made this discovery so young, she’ll never remember a time when she didn’t love music, or know how to play along with her favorites. When the time comes to start learning an instrument, she already has an idea of how they’re played and how they sound. Right now, the cymbals and drum sets are her favorites. But she imitates you playing the piano; I imagine she’ll ask for that some time in the future.

I have no idea how her tastes in music will grow and change as she grows, but I do know that it was your music and specials and concerts that got her love of music started. I was there when it happened. That love will be there as long as she can remember, just like it has been for me.

I hope that you’re not done when it comes to creating new music. Whatever you’ve got in mind I’d love to hear it whenever you can get it out. Hopefully my husband and I will get to see your show again soon. (Of course, you could always come back to Atlanta – we’ll see what we can do about holding off the snow and ice and tornadoes.)

Happy 65th and here’s to many more to come!

With much love now and forever,