“They’re playing our song.” Music has a way of transporting us to a certain time in our lives that was especially happy or especially tragic. Happily, whenever I hear the Grand March from Aida, I have good memories.
I heard it played on the radio just the other day, and a friend of mine just recently mentioned how much he enjoys it, so the irony of hearing it twice in the same week inspired me to write about it. I don’t imagine it’s ever been on the top 40, not in my lifetime anyway, but in opera theatres, it brings down the house.
My introduction to this magnificent piece of music was at the summer series of the Cincinnati Opera, many years ago, held at the Cincinnati zoo. Yes, the zoo. My mother and I attended several operas there. It was one of the many gifts she gave me. It was so amusing when during a beautiful aria, a seal would bark, or an exotic bird would screech, and the audience would suppress a little giggle. At the end of the intermission, a trumpet player would come out where people were milling around and play a few notes of the upcoming music in the next act. It was like a little tease to get us excited to come back and get seated. Then, as the Grand March began, it was thrilling to hear those trumpets announce the beginning of one of the most stirring and absolutely gorgeous creations of all of opera.
Apparently, my daughter was moved by this piece as well, because she chose it for her wedding procession. The grandeur of this music was so appropriate for how I felt, watching my daughter walk down the aisle on the arm of her father.
2 wonderful memories come to mind each time I hear it or think of it. 15 years ago this month, my daughter glided down the aisle in her splendor. 50 years ago, I heard it for the first time in the summer air of an outdoor pavilion. These memories swell in my heart and make me so thankful for the gift of great music.