This I Believe

KUHF-Houston Public Radio’s “This I Believe” with Mary Lins

Mary has lived in Houston since she was five years old. Mary and her family moved to Houston when her father got a job in the manned space program. A generation later, Mary is the mother of two adult sons and supervises a group of data integrators for a NASA contractor. As far back as she can remember music has been source of great joy. And that passion for music is expressed in her essay for this broadcast.

When Mary was in her 20s, she decided it was time to pursue her interest in music in a tangible way. She decided it was time to sing with others in local choirs and choruses. She knew her singing voice wasn’t great, but she could “blend” and be a part of a great and larger sound. She joined the Bay Area Chorus and has been a member for more than 20 years. She remembers as a new member of the chorus…listening to rehearsal tapes in her car as she’d take her young kids to and from school. Mary says she had the only five-year-old who could sing the alto part of Mozart’s Requiem. Mary says her kids are now grown, but she still listens to tapes to prepare for the weekly chorus rehearsals. Mary’s love of music is as strong today as it’s ever been and her work with the Bay Area Chorus is an on-going source of great joy.

As mentioned, Mary’s sons are grown and she couldn’t be prouder of them. Her oldest son is a Catholic priest in Missouri and her youngest son is a pilot in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii. She is also a proud UT alum…hook ’em horns, Mary.

Here’s Mary Lins with her essay for KUHF’s This I Believe.
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak” wrote William Congreve hundreds of years ago. I believe it is true.

Since the first mother made up the first lullaby, music has had a soothing effect on little ones.

I believe that exposing children to music early in life is a lasting and inexpensive gift we adults can share with them. When my sons were young, I promised to give them a quarter for every song on the radio that I didn’t know. I paid out only about 75 cents in all the years I was driving them around! The bet caused them to listen intently to music playing on my favorite stations — pop, oldies and classical.

Music makes me feel good, hopeful and joyful. It takes away my discomfort and transports me to a sublime plain. I can pop an aspirin or pop in a CD and get similar results.

When I had my wisdom teeth removed and couldn’t stomach the pain medication, I turned to Gregorian chants instead. My mouth hurt less. I relaxed…my “savage breast” was soothed. Cheaper than Vicodin, music is just as addictive.

For me, making music is even more therapeutic. For 21 years, I have been a member of the Bay Area Chorus, a 44-year-old community chorus in Houston. Singing in such an ensemble — whether a church choir, a glee-club, or community chorus — is a commitment of time and talent, yet its rewards are manifold. Lending your voice as part of a Master Work enables you to become part of that immortal music — and it becomes a part of you.

When I experienced an emotional upheaval 12 years ago, not only the friendships that I developed through the Bay Area Chorus, but also the music itself helped me re-group and heal. Music works the left and right sides of my brain in harmony and produces an endorphin-like rush of pleasure.

I believe William Congreve was right when he proclaimed the transformative charms of music. I believe music has a therapeutic affect that can help overcome a bad day, a crushing year, or a hole in your life.

This I believe.”


Paul Pendergraft

Content Producer, UH Moment, Engines of Our Ingenuity

Paul Pendergraft is Houston Public Media’s Senior Producer for News & Public Affairs. Paul came to KUHF in the spring of 1996 as a general assignments news reporter. In time Paul was promoted to Assistant News Director, News Director and then to his current position.While at KUHF, Paul has been...

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