When You Are Reminded Of Your Father

When You Are Reminded Of Your Father

Sometimes something strikes you as the essence of your father or your mother. This video reminds me of my father. The man in the video, Martin Hurkens, looks kind of like him, especially when my father, back in the day, would leave the house for a choral performance dressed in a black suit and bowtie and black polished dress shoes, his starched white french cuffs secured by glinting squares of garnet. My father loved classical music and variations thereof, such as this piece, which is referred to as “operatic pop adult contemporary classical.”

Memories of My Dad: Music

Dad never would have stood in the middle of a cobblestone street and performed an impromptu solo, but he did love performing with our church choir when I was small. (In addition to their Sunday hymns, they put on annual performances in the church basement: Gilbert and Sullivan productions were favorites along with spoofs on “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”) As I grew older, he sang with Los Cancioneros, a widely respected choral group that performed by invitation at performance halls in Germany and Mexico City and other international locales, and at Carnegie Hall (twice). A point of special honor in his life was his acceptance by a gospel choir in downtown Los Angeles with whom he performed every year during their Christmas series; one lone white face among the many rows of singers.

One of the Carnegie Hall performances happened when I was living in Manhattan, a newly minted and admittedly self-impressed young lawyer. How surreal it was then to try to align the dual roles in my head: me the sophisticated New York City attorney attending the theater, and me the daughter watching the calm and talented man stride onto the stage, his familiar bald head and glasses reflecting the light, just as I did so many times during my childhood. 

The Strange Parallels Between Martin Hurkens and My Father

There are parallels in Martin Hurkens’ and my father’s lives. Both were Dutch. Both had a passion for creative endeavors but had earned their living doing something else. Martin Hurkens had early in life pursued a dream of becoming an opera singer, but earned his living through most of his adulthood as a baker. My father had harbored dreams of becoming a writer of shoot-’em-up westerns, but his lifetime career was the practice of law. Both men were talented, accomplished, and respected, but remained humble. Both not only accepted the need to set aside their dreams but were grateful for what life had brought their way. Both of them, eventually, performed on stage in New York City. 

There’s one main difference between my father and Martin Hurkens; Mr. Hurkens is a tenor. My father was a bass. I love Martin Hurkens’ singing, but I liked my father’s voice better.

Martin Hurkens sing “You Raise Me Up” while standing on a cobblestone street in Maastricht, Netherlands,
where he is dressed elegantly, his hat at his feet, ready to accept coins.

Memoir writing returns to the Women At Woodstock Over-50 Retreat
this October as one of our deep-dive workshops.
I hope I’ll hear your story there.

Founder, Women At Woodstock


Women At Woodstock 2021:
Over-50 Retreat: October 6-10
Writer’s Retreat: October 10-14


P.S. Click here for a $100 discount code for Women At Woodstock 2021.

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Virtual Story Cottage Sampler
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— starting in January 2022 and running all year.
Our first Virtual Writer’s Colony has become such a close-knit and committed group, it’s continuing on into 2022.
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