Between watching the depressing nightly news and worrying about the “suspicious nodule” that I apparently have on my right lung, I could not sleep at all last night. To pass the time, I decided to search for a piano recording of Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria’ that my friend Lani made for me (27 years ago). Since I have always wanted to make a recording with her accompaniment, I thought this sleepless night would be the perfect opportunity to raise my spirits with a song.
As I love to sing, I did promise several people that I would eventually post an audio file. However, I have about 300 old practice cassette tapes and only a few of them are marked, so I was concerned that it was going to take forever and a day to find this particular tape.
Thankfully, in the middle of a dark night, luck was with me. As I listened through the 4th cassette—I actually found the recording that I wanted. I was so glad that it wasn’t forever lost, because it is the only one of its kind. We were living in Hawaii at the time and, since her living room windows were open, we could hear the birds singing in the palm trees while she was playing. The tape picked up the bird songs along with the piano accompaniment, so the music has a unique and peaceful sound. I told Lani that I was going to find a way to sing with this tape and make a recording of the combined sound. But time went by and things changed. We moved away to distant states, and the tape got buried and covered with dust.
It is almost unbelievable how much technology has changed since the late 1980s. There was no internet access back then, and there certainly was no way to convert a cassette tape into a computer .mp3 file or a CD. Now it is relatively easy. At 3 a.m., I took that old cassette tape and ran the sound through an ION TAPE2PC Conversion System, which allowed me to upload the piano recording to my computer. Then, I saved the audio file onto a CD and sang over it onto a second CD. At one point, while I was singing, I turned to ask Lani if she could pick up the tempo a little. I had completely forgotten that the pianist was not there and the music was not live — such an interesting experience!
Now I have a piano recording made in Hawaii in 1987, combined with singing that I did last night in a Virginia basement. Yes! I watched space, time, and distance vanish right before my eyes as I was singing darkness into light. Thank you for being there and now virtually here, Lani!