Thursday, August 5

Witness Wednesday-A Musical Story

What experience of the presence of the divine can you speak to?

Where has grace moved in your life?

What is your story?

Today I was feeling down in the dumps. I think that is the technical term! It was like the air I was breathing was not pure. So I sat down at the piano ... something I haven't done for a long time. I pulled out some old books - J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Les Mis, Pachabel. Some of the pieces were hard! I remember playing them well at one time. But sadly, my skills have slipped. 

Specifically, I was interested in getting out my Beethoven Sonata book and looking at Pathetique again. I had planned to play this piece at my brother's wedding in 2001. He was going to be married the Saturday after 9/11. But, 9/11 happened. Flights were cancelled. I could not fly from Washington to North Carolina to be at the wedding. I was devastated. Not only that I couldn't be there for the wedding and play this piece that they had requested, but because I was going to stand in for my mom and light a candle in her memory.  Of course I was also devastated just because of the entirety of 9/11.

Of course, I haven't played this piece in a decade! But I could mostly get through it with some spots where it was still clearly in my fingers and some spots where I wrinkled my brow in consternation! But I made it from beginning to end. So take that! Certainly not fabulous in its entirety, but with little sparks of aptitude breaking through!

Music has always been very important to me. I grew up with the piano. My dad side of the family were all deeply involved with music. I accompanied choirs in high school and college and continued at church and eventually conducted the youth choir and the youth bell choir (see picture below). I don't know why I let myself get away from it! Why I don't sit down at the piano every day? Why do I let months slip by? Unimportant distractions. It brings me such joy--I should remember and return--begin again.

Anyway, by the end of going through my books of music and the Pathetique Sonata, my mood had changed entirely from down in the dumps to one of joy. It seemed as if I was breathing different air-pure air, sparkling air, joyous air. That was grace. Creation and Creator.

“Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world - the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.”
― Leonard Bernstein

Shalom and amen.


Youth Bell Choir at BCUMC Conductor:  Terri Stewart
Youth Bell Choir at BCUMC, 2006
Conductor: Terri Stewart


(c) 2013 post, essay, and photo, Terri Stewart

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