Needless to say, music is an integral part of all our lives, from the rock concert T-shirt you proudly wore to school the day after the show to the songs you chose for your wedding. It's our motivation, and it's our soundtrack.
You can learn a lot about a person simply by hearing what they hear. With this new, occasional Q&A column we're calling "Off the record," City will focus on people in the public eye that are outside of the music scene, and the songs, albums, and artists that mean something to them.
Our guest this week is House Representative Louise Slaughter.
City: How do you get your music? Records, CDs, or download?
Louise Slaughter: Most of the music I listen to is on local radio stations while driving across Rochester between events. A few weeks ago, I restarted my satellite radio subscription, which has a few good stations too.
First musical purchase?
I've always loved music and bought many albums over the years. Stan Kenton was an early favorite of mine.
First live music event?
When I was 5 years old, I traveled from my home all the way to Louisville, Kentucky, to watch a performance of "Babes in Toyland" at Christmas time. It was magical.
Favorite band or musician?
It's impossible for me to narrow it down to just one, though Rochester's own Gap Mangione and the Campbell Brothers are particular favorites of mine.
A song or lyrics that really spoke to you? Why?
There are two songs that have always really spoken to me. The first is "Amazing Grace." The second is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It has always been hard for me to get through the second verse of that song without tearing up. Watching the performance at St. Paul's Cathedral in London in the days following September 11 was a breathtaking and beautiful moment.
Favorite type of music?
The blues hands down.
Do you play an instrument?
Piano and guitar. My late husband, Bob, bought me a lovely guitar, but I haven't had much time to play it recently.
Memorable musical moment?
The first time I sang with a live band. I will never forget how it felt with the music rising up behind me. In college, some of my favorite moments were singing with a band called Tinker Baggerly and His Orchestra, which was made up of engineering students.
What does music mean to you?
Music means the world to me. Its benefits are really incalculable. The National Endowment for the Arts has even had great success in using music and the arts in general to help the men and women in the military process traumatic events and restore physical function. It's a remarkable program that I'm proud to support and promote as Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, and it truly speaks to the power of song.