Have you ever been to a concert where the music you heard and the artists performing it made you feel, "Ahhhh...yes. This is where I need to be, and this is what I need to be doing"?
This week's concerts for CMFS did exactly that. I'm humbly grateful for these rare but strangely regular experiences. ("Regular" not meaning, say, every week or every month, but rather to say that they happen seemingly just when you need them for nourishment.) It reminds me of having attended Interlochen as a young student and subsequently teaching there during my undergraduate years -- for me, at the time, it was nirvana. It wasn't perfect -- nothing is -- but it was certainly as perfect as it could've been in my earthly life. Everything was fostered around the love of music and the love of sharing music in community. Now in my adult life, CMFS is my annual nirvana. This week's concerts taught me more about phrasing, and breathing, and color than I have probably ever learned since leaving Juilliard. The brilliant genius of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet (absolutely one of the most ravishingly beautiful things God gave to this earth), the heart-wrenching expression of Sandra's singing, the Swiss-watch precision of Alicia's contrapuntal lines, the visceral warmth of Leanne's playing, Jonathan's impeccable control of tone and color, Carrie's unfailing sense of character, Joan's perfect marriage of technical prowess and elegance at the keyboard, Gregory's stage charisma and powerful virtuosity, Tchaikovsky's drama, Sarasate's luminous brilliance, and Schumann's amalgamation of words and pitches -- dude, it all came together. And it all brought us together -- our audience, our performers, our interns and board members -- everyone.
As I sat among the audience last evening, I remembered that this is why I do what I do. It's quite possibly one of the world's most impractical careers, but there's something special and awesome about music and the power it has to unify people. As often as I witness music tearing people apart (sometimes I wonder if experience in politics should be a prerequisite for entry into this field) -- sadly enough -- I remain steadfast in my dedication to the positive power of music, and unique and fortuitous opportunities which have been presented to me to do so, such as CMFS and the Brown Bag Series at the Holland Arts Council, are venues that I can use to contribute to the making this world better through this slightly impractical but infinitely and richly rewarding thing called music! So please, my friends in music, let your naysayers simply be; redirect your attention and energies to the beauty, sublimity, and community which lovingly intoxicated you into playing music in the first place!