At the Olympics in England a few weeks ago, a Jewish girl Alexandra Raisman known as Aly did her gymnast routine to the song called Hava Nagilah. This song is played at reception affairs for Jewish weddings and Bar and Bas Mitzvah parties. It is a lively tune and everyone goes about clapping their hands while it is being sung. It is a nice song and really makes you feel so full of pep and vigor when you hear it and sing it too. It is usually played by the disc jockey or the live orchestra supplying the music for the party. Most non-Jewish folks have probably never heard it or if they have, they also think it quite a jolly tune.
The Hebrew words translated into English, though, it is always sung in Hebrew are:
Come let’s dance, come let’s dance.
Come let’s dance and be happy, Come let’s twirl and be happy.
I have heard it played at non-Jewish celebrations too. It is a happy song with a distinctive feeling to make you smile when you hear the music.
The Hebrew words are Hava Nagilah and it is repeated many times with several other words too. The music is catchy and delightful. Aly did her routine to this song and it was a big hit and now it is said that millions of non-Jewish people know this song now.
Sometimes a song catches on and you hear it all day on the radio. Sometimes, the vocalist singing becomes associated with her or him singing it. Pat Boone’s daughter became a singing star many years ago with a song called You Light Up My Life. The words even became a phrase in the country about being happy and someone lighting up our life. Her name was Debby Boone and I just saw her on a commercial trying to sell some product.
In the long running play, Fiddler On The Roof, the song called Sunrise, Sunset became an instant hit and many weddings used this song for the father of the bride to have it played when he danced with his daughter, the bride. The words were catchy and asked the question “is this the little girl I carried?” It always brings tears to the bride, her mom and dad and most of the guests at the wedding.
I listen to the Tom Marr show some mornings and his in between the talk, commercials and news, they play a theme song. I do not know the name of it, but to me, hearing it makes me feel sad. I do not know why, but the music and no words stir sad thoughts and memories to my mind. He calls it a beautiful song, yet it makes me always feel too sad. When Fiddler on the Roof came out about forty-eight years ago in 1964, a cousin of mine came to a family party and said she was late getting there because she had seen a preview play of a new play she predicted would become a long running play on Broadway. When I asked the name, she said Fiddler On The Roof, and I thought what kind of name is that, it probably will not do well. My cousin’s prediction came true and there are still versions of it playing all around the country. They even made a movie from it and it was popular as is and was the play.
Music when we are dancing at a social dance leads the way into how many people get up to dance that particular dance. Some people sit there because they do not care for the beat or the song. Others get up and dance anyway because they came there to dance and whether they care for the song, go ahead, ignore it and just dance. I find that the songs played by the disc jockey or the owner of the studio are usually easier to dance to than a live person playing an instrument. The recorded songs are about four minutes and the live person sometimes plays for eight or nine minutes. Lots of people would rather sit down after four or five minutes than feel they have to dance ten minutes because they do not want to walk off the floor in the middle of the song. Lots of seniors feel that way and the younger folks like the longer songs. Either way is fine and if you have to sit down or walk off during a long piece of music, one need not feel disrespectful to the music giver.
My husband has always loved opera and he can sit there for a long time and listen to the same operas over and over again. When we had our second doggie Rhumba, she would sit with him on the sofa and seem to be listening to the operas and ‘enjoying’ them too. I always said our little Rhumba was an opera enthusiast animal.
When ice skaters ice skate in competitions, they take a long time to choose the music that will be appropriate for their routine. I knew someone who did that and I was told that she and the coach spent hours to decide which song would be showing off her talents and also would be delightful for the viewers watching her. Sometimes, they said, a song could make or break the routine.
When I first started to compete in about 1982, the competition for the dancing was in Florida. On the application papers, it stated for a few dollars per record as they were called then, no DVDs or CD’s then, just old fashioned records, they would sell you the exact song that would be played for the division of dance you had chosen to dance in. If say, you were dancing a Waltz in division one, they could send you for a small amount of money, the exact song you would be competing with. That made it easier for you to practice and prepare with your coach to the exact music. Therefore, you were not stunned to hear strange songs as you prepared to go on the dance competition floor. The first event I went to in May 1982 in Miami Beach, Florida, I purchased from the competition owner about six records of my songs to be played in my chosen events. It cost about sixty dollars which turned out to be a good investment because I was more prepared knowing the music in advance. I was then able to go out and dance and be prepared and more confident. He was one of the first competition managers to do that. Other competitions would tell you the name of the song and if you wanted it, you had to go out and find it in a record store. If you were lucky, you found it and many times you could not. This was a nice perk on his part in selling it to the competitor through the mail.
It is always good to be on top of a situation you are going to be a part of and to be knowledgeable about it, it is always a smart way to handle things. Now days, we have the Internet and you can look up things important to you before the purchase. When I was remodeling my kitchen two years ago, I researched all the new appliances online as to their quality, cost and performance. A good source of finding things out is Consumers Report online or subscribing to the magazine through the mail. I keep all my Consumer magazines for a year, so I can research something I may be purchasing. The online Consumers is a good investment for about nineteen dollars per year; I can go immediately right now and in five minutes or less, I can sign in any item I want to buy and usually get a report on it immediately that is update and accurate. Then it is your choice as to what you go out and buy at the appliance dealer, or the grocery store for a new item or even to check on a new medicine and see if they have the information about it.
We are now informed consumers, not misinformed ones who rely on salespeople to advise us what is good and not so good. If we want to take the time to research, the Internet is useful too.
You can even go online and research colleges and courses you may want to sign up for. They say do not believe everything you see in print, but at least it is a guideline to more information than you have now.
Many times, when I write these articles and I cannot think of perhaps of the accuracy of something I want to state, I check it out on two Internet sites and decide together with my knowledge of something which I will state. I looked up the Hava Nagilah information to make sure I had it correctly in my mind so my fingers would type the accurate information.
In the play Fiddle On The Roof, Tevye, the father and prime player in it sings a song where he says “If I were a rich man,” I feel we are all ‘richer’ for being able to investigate the knowledge we desire by going on the Internet to find out more on the subject. True, all information there is not always accurate or timely, but we are smart enough to separate the truth from the falsehoods and therefore, we benefit and are all ‘richer’ as Tevye said.
The Internet and Email have allowed me to write articles that are read by many people in faraway cities, in different ages of life, and in different jobs and professions. I have met so many interesting people who love dance as I do and who love their life, their job, their family and their spouses and we all merge together in this our life. It allows us to email and instantly to receive a reply, quicker than a phone call or a letter through the mail.
There was a television show when TV was in its younger years. It was moderated by a man named Ralph Edwards who created the show and it was called “This Is Your Life.” They would bring an ordinary person out and he or she would sit there and one by one, they would bring people from their past out to talk about them from behind the curtain and he or she would hear the voice and what the person was recalling about them from maybe twenty or more years ago. The person they were featuring would say “Oh my God, can it be Mrs. Jones from when I was in sixth grade?” Out would trot Mrs. Jones and they would hug and she would relate on what he or she had done then that made them remarkable. In those days, it was a show to be watched every week and to shed a few tears for both the person from the past and the person now there to be with them. Everyone talked about it the following day at work.
Just remember that every day is “This Is Your Life” and perhaps in your own way whether through the Internet or Email, you may be influencing someone with what you write or say or do today. Just as Alexandra (Aly)Raisman did when she did her gymnastic routine to a song not known to all; she created an interest in the music of this song and I have heard it replayed lately a lot on the radio station. It is said that a lot of bad things go what they call viral on the internet; however lots of nice things go on there and I would rather call it vital which is essential, lively, important and happy in life. As Tevye said if he were a rich man, so we can all be wiser for knowledge that we gain, wherever it is absorbed from and know that we are ‘richer’ for it.