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Pets, Theater & Music, Oh My!

by | Aug 2, 2013 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care, Writing Advice & More | 6 comments

Last night I attended the SCP Volunteer Appreciating Dinner and Preview Performance of the annual fundraiser show. This year, it starred four local vocalists, the extremely talented Paul Jordan, Nick Timmerman, Aaron Adair and Blake Rice in FOREVER PLAID, directed by Nikki Silva. The show runs this weekend and next, August 2-11, at the Honey McGee Playhouse in Sherman, TX.

Run, do not walk, to get your tickets!

If you love music, if you love comedy, if you love theater–this is the show for you and the whole family. The four characters, wannabe 1950s songsters, missed their chance at stardom when nearly 50 years ago they were T-boned by a school bus and died–and have now come back from the grave for a one night performance. The close harmony is spot-on, the patter funny, the reactions subtle–and deadpan hilarious–and choreography so campy the audience doesn’t know whether to groan or give a standing-O. The elevated set, a bandstand that seems to hover amidst the clouds, makes the most of the available space while the onstage keyboard and bass player give all the support needed. Deceptively simple lighting and sound enhance the experience, and the costumes–white dinner jackets and later their namesake plaid tuxedos–stay with the theme of a low-rent concert. The crooning to Perry Como’s golden sweater will make you swoon. The featured solos (each actor gets several opportunities) literally rock the house!

Full disclosure–I know the guys in the show and would expect no less, and I also know the talented director. Having never seen the show, I’d suspected it would be a fun night with a thoroughly forgettable script. But this is one you’ll be buzzing about for weeks to come–and kicking yourself if you don’t go. Call for tickets now, the seats won’t last long, I guarantee. Here’s the number…903-892-7652…and learn more about the theater here.

Seren-ViolinI was invited to the Volunteer Dinner because last season I played cello as a volunteer orchestra member in the production of SEUSSICAL, and also volunteered as an usher. Many of y’all know that I perform now and then as well.

I love music and so do pets. Couldn’t get away from music during my growing-up years, since my Dad was a music teacher. Piano lessons started in second grade and our Sheltie used to rest underneath the piano when I practiced. Cello lessons in fifth grade, and I found my “major” instrument (voice) in high school. Yep, I was a music major in college–sang opera, among other things.

And then I ended up with a career writing about cats and dogs. Funny how that happens. Today I also write music (never saw THAT coming!) and just invested in some new Bose computer speakers after my CD player died. After not being able to listen to some of my favs in many months, it’s a joy to finally be surrounded by music once again. Oh, and in my thriller series, the main character plays cello. I’ve not yet decided how her cat Macy and dog Shadow should react–maybe some of your comments from your own pets will give me some inspiration, so do tell!

I do find some music distracting, though, and must be very selective about type of music when I write. As much as I loved FOREVER PLAID I couldn’t listen to them while working. I’d end up singing along and never get any writing done, or imagine the way certain pieces are arranged. Do you listen to music while you work? What kind is best for your favorite activity? Does it help or hinder your inspiration?

Our animal companions also have a relationship to music. That can be good–or bad, depending on if your pets have the same taste as you.

GSD-Music Magical-Dawg howls along if I happen to sing above a certain range. Everyone’s a critic–I guess it’s good that I chose writing as my work. Dogs (and coyotes) answer sirens with howls, and probably think human singers are simply inept at howling. Ahem.

Seren-kitty turns on her lion cough…ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK…when I play certain notes on my cello. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of the violin if/when my husband finally gets around to taking lessons.

On a more practical note (pun intended), music can be a therapeutic tool in your pet’s home health care kit. Pleasant music can mask scary noises like thunder or New Year’s fireworks, or upsetting sounds like barking neighbor or raccoon scrabbling in the back yard. But more than that, the cadence of certain sounds influences the body’s natural rhythms and can speed them up and energize the listener, or slow them down to calm him.

So, does your dog or cat appreciate music? what kind gets his woofer working and purrs bubbling? Here’s an article with more details about how you can make music work for your dogs (hint: it helps cats, too!).

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!

6 Comments

  1. Karyl

    Ooh you sang opera too? I did some in high school. 🙂 My music teacher about fell over herself when she started working with me – she never thought she’d meet a high school student who could pull it off. (Man I need to get my vocals back in shape).

    Our cats seem pretty indifferent to music anymore. Simba used to purr her head off when she heard me sing (ending in a nice heavy love chomp to the ankle once – ow!)… now they just give us “the look” if they hear a note they don’t like.

    Wonder if there’s any music that will keep Simba placated, though… she has to be confined for about a month. She jumped off the couch and landed wrong last night, now she’s on painkillers and arthritis injections and she’s not allowed to jump so we’re digging out the old dog crate to keep her in until we can get her some stairs made for her sleeping spots. x.x

    • Karyl

      and again I forget to check the box… *sigh* well I guess I can forgive myself this time after I didn’t really sleep last night (kitty in pain= NO FUN)

    • Amy Shojai

      Oh no, poor Simba! My best advice for music would be some of the harp music from http://www.petpause2000.com, Sue Raimond’s work. Harp music “entrains” the brain waves and can act as a natural sedative (and pain killer!), it’s used in human hospice patients and works well with pets, too. Plus it’s safe, noninvasive and a DIY modality.

      • Karyl

        Thanks for the link! (Though looks like the site is down at the moment. Good thing we have the good drugs for now. 😉 ) But the vet said it looks like just a muscle strain so that’s good at least. And these injections, they apparently see VERY good results with them – it’s the same ones they use for Danes and Mastiffs and such for their joint issues (just, a kitty sized dose). Just a month and it should last her at least 6 months or so after that before we need to look into it again (and apparently some of them never need another shot).

        Now needle-phobic kitty momma just needs to suck it up and remember that her babycat isn’t scared of them.

        • Amy Shojai

          That sounds like Adequan, start out as a horse med and yes, works very well on severe arthritis types of pain esp in the big doggies. Glad it’s helping your kitty. Keep me posted!

          • Karyl

            Yep, that’s the one!

            Hoping dad gets here soon with the dog crate… she’s awake now and starting to fuss at the carrier. LOL

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