Sunday, June 3, 2012

Musical Joy in the Congo

This 60 Minutes story about the creation of a symphony orchestra in the middle of poverty stricken Congo is a great reminder of what music can do for people.  It brings them together.  It provides them with solace.  It shows people a world where life is beautiful even in the midst of terrific ugliness.  Music is ubiquitous in our country.  The farthest you have to go to listen or to create it is rolling over in your bed to pick up your iPhone or walking one step to your computer.  It's in our cars, our grocery stores, at our doctor and dentists offices, on the airplane, in our places of employment…. We in the "First World" are drunk and engorged on music that is stuffed down our gullets. Some would say that pop music now is the simple carbohydrate of musical forms: fills and fattens you up but doesn't really have much nutritional value, leaving your spirit malnourished.

There is nothing like making music with people. I've conducted quite a few choirs, and been in quite a few bands. The rush of joy when the music feels good is cathartic and addictive.  The connection between people you feel when you are truly listening to someone in order for there to be literal harmony is like nothing else. Music is the great healer, expresser, and educator. The joy of creating live music can make people do things that seem outlandish to some.  Walking 90 minutes each way up and down a  mountain so you can play some music…that's for me.  We could learn a lot from the joy these people have created for themselves. This is what music does. This is why I'm a musician.

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