When a family “bands” together…

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A typical Saturday for me, as a child,  included a ride with my dad or grandfather  (or both) to a local hall with a trailer full of band equipment in tow. My brother and I would help unload the gear and proceed to ask my uncles (and adopted uncle) a bazillion questions. I am quite sure we drove them crazy, but they never complained. We would try the microphones once they were up and running and enjoy one or two dances as the guys did a sound check. There were parties and dances to attend and jamborees every summer. For me, music has always been a way of life thanks to our family band.

Mozart’s Melody Makers began as a trio including my grandfather, my father (Mozart) and one of his high school buddies. With the addition of a family friend on drums in the early 70’s, the band became a staple at local functions and I do remember my Dad rushing out the door with guitar in hand 3 or 4 evenings each week. As years went on, Dad’s friend went away to school leaving a spot open for my Dad’s younger brother Marc to take over lead-guitar and soon after, their youngest brother Martin was added to the mix. Then,when I was in high school, Grandpa asked me to join them. It was pretty amazing to be a member of a family band that offered over 30 years of entertainment to the communities in Huron-Perth Counties and beyond. My brother and sister also played with us as they became old enough, so by the mid 90’s there were always three generations of Gelinas on the stage.

The times getting together with family to learn new music or polish old material were some of the greatest times of my life. There is just something special about making all of those instruments and vocals come together. It is a sound you can’t recreate without those specific people there. It’s like having a heart to heart with every member of the group without saying a word. You have to trust their abilities to carry you while you carry them. When performing as a group you work together to control the mood and flow of a function. To achieve that, every person in the group has a key role. So, in 2001 after the passing of our bass player and “manager”, my grandfather Mozart Gelinas Sr., it was difficult to continue and the group Mozart’s Melody Makers became a thing of the past.

This summer, after 12 years, Mozart’s Melody Makers got together for a reunion show at the Zurich Bean Festival. 12 years is a long time and I have to be honest, when we first got together to practice we were a little rusty – but by the time the festival rolled around we were sounding like the “good old days”! My 12 yr old son picked up his great-grandpa’s bass and my daughter added some vocals and flute. I was so proud of them.  Boy, what a rush being on stage with my family after all this time…and three generations once again!

I think parents send their children to music lessons for all kinds of reasons, but I wonder if they realize how much they are really giving their children. It isn’t just about learning how to play the piano or the guitar. When a child can work together with others to create music there is a special kind of magic there. Group classes like Music For Young Children classes help children to develop the skill of “playing well with others” from an early age.

On Bean Fest Day I know, without a doubt, that my grandfather was looking down on us with a puffed out chest and a grin from ear to ear. Playing music with his family was everything to him and I bet he was even humming along. I don’t know if Mozart’s Melody Makers will have a repeat performance anytime soon, but I do know I will treasure the memories made this summer and I plan to create more opportunities for my own children and I to makeIMG_0133 music together.  If there is one thing my grandfather and uncles taught me it’s that – ties are pretty strong when a family “bands” together.

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gabrielle tiede flynn
August 31st, 2013

Aimee, this is such a lovely tribute to family and the joy of making Music.
As a child I spent many happy hours in the parlour at Grandpa & Grandma Gelinas’ listening to my uncle Mozart and his bothers and sisters make music together.
The old pump organ, violins,guitars and banjo ….any instrument that was put down so one player could have a smoke, was immediately picked up by another player.
My Mom, Grace was always her happiest when we would visit at the farm and all the family got together for a visit.
Years later when my young children gathered with their cousins at family reunions I heard them ask “are the M&MMs going to play? My younger cousins became their first “rock” stars.
Thanks for the trip down happy memory lane, ….Binny

Ms. Aimee
August 31st, 2013

Thank you for sharing that Binny! What a lucky bunch we are to have come from such music lovers! I wish I could have known Great Grandma and Grandpa G. : )

Shelly
August 31st, 2013

How beautiful! Such wonderful recollections and experiences to pass on!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Miss Aimee!

Barbara Tiede
September 1st, 2013

Thanks so much, dear Aimee, for sharing! Your recollections stir up fond memories of my (very) long ago, when Uncle Mozart and his brothers and sisters made the melodies (and one or another would occasionally give one of the very short people a thrilling twirl around the floor). Wonderful times! ~?

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