February 5, 2023

Happy Easter to all!
At Boys’ High way back, students were required to learn two songs, aside from the school hymn. The late Mrs. Mercedes Coloma, the music teacher, saw to it that during your four-year stay, you get to know by heart, “Climb every mountain” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Surprisingly, they both come out of the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, “The Sound of Music” and “Carousel,” 1959 and 1945 plays made into movies and shown at Pines Theatre where my late papa worked.
Who would forget Mother Abbess sing her inspirational piece to ex-future nun Maria and the Von Tropp family to take every step toward attaining their dreams after a great escape from the Nazis?
It goes: “Climb ev’ry mountain, Search high and low, Follow ev’ry by-way. Every path you know Ford ev’ry stream, Follow ev’ry rainbow, ‘Till you find your dream, A dream that will need all the love you can give, Everyday of your life, For as long as you live!”
It is an inspirational overtone, but for normal times, not such ours. The metaphors of climbing mountains and fording streams better fitted Maria’s quest for her spiritual compass parallels between a nun’s choice for a religious life and the choices that humans must make to find their purpose and direction in life than fighting a pandemic.
The second musical, Carousel, has its roots in Budapest in 1909 (the year Baguio City was born?)
A carnival barker, Liliom, falls in love and lived with Julie. Both unemployed by the economic downfall, he thought of leaving her but discovers she was pregnant. He was a bad abusive father though. Jobless and desperate, he resorted to crime and robbery, but it went wrong and he stabs himself. He dies, and his spirit is taken for judgment up there in the heavens.
Alone, helpless and hopeless, Julie and daughter Louise, took solace in the song for comfort. He was told by St. Peter, I assume, that he may go back to Earth for one day to attempt to redeem the wrongs he has done to his family, but must first spend 16 years in a fiery purgatory. He returns to Earth in time for her daughter’s graduation, offering a star he stole from heaven. From that scene he sprang almost naturally. Of course, he was invisible as a ghost but happy as he saw his daughter celebrate a milestone in her life:
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone.
Carousel was tragic for people, but while it may be a tragedy, it’s a hopeful one.
After 9/11, the song now interpreted by Barbara Streisand became an anthem for the victims of the terroristic act. Lately, she sang it again to inspire her people and ours that there is hope after the pandemic and that while we live it different era’s the message remains – we shall never walk alone.
Sigh!

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