What is Your Anthem?

Susan Hilerio

  • OnStage Connecticut Columnist

Your anthem is that one song… it hits you like a punch in a gut.   The music begins… you feel your eyes begin to well up, butterflies start flying around in your stomach, your skin starts tingling and feeling alive.  This… this is the song that KNOWS what you need.  This is the only source in your life that gets what is going on in that head of yours.  And you then come to that tricky decision before the vocals come in and devour you… do I listen this time around?  Or, do I just let myself wail alongside of this beautiful masterpiece which is living inside my head.  And, as I’m sure we all know that it is a VERY difficult decision to make.  Once that songs comes on and we don’t make the right decision to listen or sing, the experience is dulled a little bit for that time around…. Until you rewind and play again.   
My girlfriends and I would have these "in car concerts".   We would go thru all of our musical CD's we had (yes…CD's) and pick out the perfect song for our heartbreak or anger we were feeling at the moment.  We would drive down to the beach with a cup of coffee, the windows down and sing our little hearts out.  By the end of the night we felt better… because Lea Salonga KNEW what we were going thru.  She had to have…. She sung that song with ALMOST as much passion as we just did, right? 
OR even better, getting the opportunity to play a role in current time that resembles your current saga in your life.  The performance you give every night is worthy of a Tony…  I remember being to play against my now husband in "Fiddler on the Roof” I was Chava and he was Fyedka.  I loved him dearly in real life and on stage.  But, I wasn't sure how my parents would react to us being an interracial couple, and on stage, Chava and Fyedka shared deep religious differences.   The fear was there in every word I said, the love, the hope, the hate… was all true in every breath that left my body.  
My point is this…. Look back at your life based on your anthems.  There are multiple.  When you revisit, notice that with each intro….  Your heart swells the same way that it did back when.   You begin to envision who you were at that stage in your life… where you were… familiar scents waft their way back into your memory, old feelings stir, goose bumps arise, the tears start to prick your eyes… and then the song ends.  
Where did it leave you once the song ended?  What do you miss?  What are you glad you left behind?   

These aren’t just songs… they are your story.  They are representatives of your life’s happiness, pain, and, confusions.  Look at these words gifted to you thru song… that were RIGHT there when you needed them.  Right there, when times were tough.  Look to them now… to see how far you’ve come, or maybe what you need to revisit.  

It's a wonderful world we have being in the theatre… not only do we get to play different people all the time, but we also get to tap into different hidden corners of ourselves.  Without this music, would we be able to be so lucky to do that?
What is your current anthem?  How does it define you?