Sunday, December 21, 2008

Music: live

Are you aware of something that brings delight to your soul, but if left unvisited for a time, you forget? I rediscovered my love for live music this afternoon at the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Chorale. I make an effort to enjoy live music every couple months, and it seems every time I do, I wish I did it more. Almost two months ago I was in Hollywood listening to two musicians from Stockholm -- a show that moved me. Then a dry spell until the orchestra. I don't remember when I last attended a concert like the one today, but again, it moved me.

Perhaps that is why live music has such a way with me. I leave changed. Music itself, recorded or live, is emotional. It makes us feel. When in the same room as a performing musician, I interact with them and understand the music on a different level than when it's echoing through my earbuds. A musician wears his heart on his sleeve. He can't help himself; it's a part of him. Passion is contagious, and (good) live music inspires me to go and do that which I love.

Watching the orchestra today, I noticed how involved each musician was in the music. They were giving everything they had. My favorite section switched from strings, to brass, to percussion, to woodwinds, to strings. I confess I'm not good at picking favorites when presented with multiple equally fantastic options. The strings had all of me during the violin solo in "White Christmas" but I wanted to help crack the whip for the percussion section in "Sleigh Ride."

It's nearly impossible to pick a favorite piece that was performed today, but there is one that shines brighter than the rest: The Hallelujah Chorus. Goosebumps from start to finish were a good indicator that it was done exceptionally well. I swelled with pride when everyone in the audience stood. I realize this is tradition, but pause to read the words:

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I thought of the mixed beliefs that stood in that room, all the thoughts about God, and knew there were many standing on their feet to the above words who wanted nothing to do with Him. I sensed a tremendous privilege that we are still willing to stand and honor lyrics like this in America. I absorbed every moment, wanting the ceiling to retract and reveal the splendor of the heavenly angels joining with us to show everyone present that this King of kings is REAL! And we are celebrating His birth and life on Thursday.

This is why live music is so wonderful: there are more dimensions than simply what you can see and hear. Much of it can't be described, but you know you want to throw yourself into the song and lose yourself in that moment. Maybe that's a touch dramatic...but that's the point.