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By Melissa Ford
A few years back, I experienced a profound calling of sorts occasioned by the lure of the saxophone and the mental fragility of “Mommy Overload;” I envisioned myself as a celebrated jazz saxophonist!
If you’ve ever ventured there, “Mommy Overload” makes even the sanest of women, well, insane! In that fragile kingdom, fueled by an uncontrollable urge to escape your life, your imagination shifts into overdrive and WHAM! - you’re an astronaut, a professional ballet dancer or a jazz saxophonist
You visualize any life’s work other than parenting.
Propelled by unknown creative forces during one of these bouts, I loudly and matter-of-factly announced to my husband, “I’m buying a saxophone; I’m going to play gigs in the city, and you’re going to bring the kids along to watch me perform!” My husband, immersed in an informercial, pretended not to hear.
Not to be deterred, I made good on my promise, at least the first part. I purchased a beautiful, curvey saxophone, enrolled in music lessons, and practiced, practiced and practiced. I derived a lot of pleasure entertaining the dog, who would howl when I hit a high note. There were low notes, too, when aggravation would kick in as I blew and squeaked, failing to produce that perfect tone.
Moreover, my husband was supportive, encouraging me to practice in the garage during the winter months. “We have a space heater so you won’t be cold and besides, you’ll have privacy,” he remarked in a kindly tone. I shot him dagger eyes. Never one to let anger go to waste, I trained and rehearsed with renewed energy, honking my gleaming sax whenever he ventured into the house.
Then, one day . . . it was simply over. I knew it and the dog knew it.
Carefully storing my beloved saxophone in its velvety purple case, I reflected upon my fleeting musical career. I loved the idea of being a famous jazz musician, but I was not in love with the hard work, not to mention the essentials were missing: inner drive, true passion and raw talent. Even though my musical days were over, it turned out that my unfulfilled dream would one day bring life to someone else’s musical aspirations.
That’s where PING! comes in!
PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) is a volunteer-run organization that provides band and orchestra instruments and music enrichment to low-income fourth - 12th grade students in School Districts 90, 97 and 200. This year 159 students are participating in band or orchestra because of PING!’s support. Yet playing a musical instrument is only one of the benefits kids receive.
Kids belong; they feel special; they create music with other students; they dream and grow and blossom. Through showcases, fundraisers, music lessons, mentorships, summer camps and more - PING! brings bigger dreams to life - The Belief in Oneself.
This is where YOU come in!
Even if you haven’t experienced “Mommy Overload,” do you have an instrument collecting dust? In need of a new home? Take the time to contact PING! at: www.pingoprf.org or email PING! at firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange to donate your instrument, volunteer your time and/or make a monetary gift.
Why wait, when YOU can fulfill someone else’s dream today.