Name: Melissa McKeague

Age: 58

Location: Tucson, AZ

Profession: Who knows?

Q: Is there a particular song that reminds you of childhood memories and family time?

A: We had lots of different music in our house. My parents had soundtracks to Broadway musicals, big band swing, country, classical, Elvis (of course!) and lots of hymns. Two different pieces stand out the most: Tenessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons,” and Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite.”

Q: Which songs take you back to your teenage years?

A: Two things spring to mind: We moved to Texas when I was 14, and my mum and I left before my dad so I could start school at the beginning of the term. There was a country tune that seemed to be everywhere, “Third-Rate Romance, Low-Rent Rendezvous.” (!) Who writes these things? Mum and I still laugh over that.

The other is Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors.” It was inescapable! I hear anything from that album and I can still smell the hallways in high school. However, to me that isn’t a good thing!

Q: What music gets you through tough times?

A: It’s either AC/DC (they have super-powers!) or show tunes. There is a show tune for every mood and emotion, I’m convinced of it!

Q: What type of music would best describe your first love?

A: I’m not sure if this means the first person I loved, or the first time I felt that giddy, out-of-body, ‘where has this been all my life,’ type of feeling. I’ll go with giddy and out-of-body, in which case it would be Broadway musical soundtracks. That’s where my love of theatre, performance, and applause first started.

Q: If you could choose a band to play on the soundtrack of you life who would it be?

A: AC/DC. No question.

Q: If you could play a song to give you confidence what song would it be?

A: Funnily enough, this is the only question for which the answer was an immediate, gut-level response. The song has to be AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It).” It’s really the only song that makes me feel like I’ll live to fight another day.

Q: What song brings back happy memories and why?

A: While I lived in Enniskillen, I was lucky enough to sing in some bands. One of the bands was ‘Atticus Finch’, and we did some tunes that always made me smile-- Ian Dury’s “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” and “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll” “Filthy Gorgeous” by the Scissor Sisters. These tunes remind me of happy times, with lovely people, lots of cups of tea (yes! tea!) at rehearsals. We all got along so well and laughed so much. I miss those times and the people every day.

Q: If you could choose three songs to listen to for the rest of your life what would they be and why?

A: This is a tough one! It would be hard to pick three albums, or three books, or three pieces of art to live with forever-- there’s so much wonderful music. Just recently I got to sing Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms.” I

t was such a wonderful experience! I would also need Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” (but only the recording with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra!) and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” album. These are pretty eclectic, but each one of them touches a different part of my heart.

Q: What song reminds you of your one true passion?

A: Well, Don McLean’s version of “The Mountains of Mourne” is beautiful and always remind me of my husband. However, since he passed I can’t listen to it without crying floods.

If you mean a life passion that isn’t a person, it might be “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana. I first heard it in a theatre history class, we were talking about passion plays and travelling players in the middle ages. It still gives me goosebumps!

Q: What song reminds you of the one place you love to visit?

A: Funnily enough, the theme from “Father Ted” always makes me think of my time in Northern Ireland! I especially love to visit the coastline, but the only music I associate with that is the sound of the waves and seagulls!