Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Brahms and Kids and Kings

This is concert week.  I'm in the Timmins Symphony Orchestra chorus.  We're performing Brahms' Requiem and we've worked hard to prepare--there are ten and a half rehearsal hours on my calendar this week alone.  I remember the first evening we turned to the third movement.  It was pretty discouraging.  I was not the only one who pictured disaster in front of a full house.  There have been many disquieting moments in our four months with this piece.  Then last night, as we opened the third movement, one of my fellow altos whispered, "This is my favourite part."  I felt a little thrill, realising that something has made the music precious to us.  What is that? 

I think of parenting.  I loved each of my children the moment we met.  Then I spent years nursing in the night, washing thousands of loads of laundry, cleaning up various stinky, sticky messes, all to a soundtrack of, "Mama?  Mama?  Mama?  Mama?  Mama?  Mama?  Mama?  Mama?"  But somehow, I love the little dumplings more than I did before I persisted in the face of the seemingly insurmountable.

In the Old Testament, there's a story about King David that I just love.  He and his mighty men have surrounded Bethlehem which is David's home town but is now possessed by his enemies.  He might be feeling nostalgia when he yearns aloud for water from the well that is just inside the gate and just out of reach.  Three of his soldiers courageously fight through the enemy defences, draw the water, and bring it to him.  I've always felt overcome by their valiance and perhaps David did too because he poured the water out.  He could not drink it because their actions had made the water holy.

I know music and children and water are wonderful.  It is exciting to me that a kind of committed bravery can multiply that wonder infinitely.

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