Like me, do any of you have TOO many interests? I have a hard time keeping them in check sometimes. I want to read, write, play music, sing, act (this is a new one for me), paint, etc. I am a lover of the arts, but it tends to get pushed back to an oven and burner on another continent. I am not good at all of these things, but I enjoy them all the same. There is something about creating that unites me, all of us really, to our Creator. Art raises our minds to God.
Last night I was reminded of a childhood dream. I have always enjoyed classical music, especially music performed by string instruments. My dad raised us on Mozart and Bach. In fact, music has brought me to tears on numerous occasions and I believe the most beautiful piece of music ever written is Mozart’s Requiem. That aside, I wanted to pursue an instrument as a child. I had asked to play the violin, but my parents said it would be too hard. They did not realize that I was musically inclined, so I ended up playing the clarinet for 10 years. I was even in the top band in the state!
The thing is, that I enjoyed the clarinet, but was not passionate about it. Clarinet music has never “hailed my soul from my body” to quote Shakespeare. Rather, it is always the violin. The first piece of music that I remember being a transcendent experience was the first time I heard Pachabel’s Canon in D. I was probably around 9. We were driving in the car and my dad had it on in the cassette player. Tears started to flow down my face while I sat in the backseat of the car. It was an involuntary reaction in coming face-to-face with authentic beauty.
a very dear friend of mine is teaching himself the violin during his retirement years. He played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for us after dinner last night. He then let me hold the violin and showed me a few simple notes. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. I was so happy just to be holding it. He encouraged me to learn it now. I am not too old. He is 65, he said. He is right about that, but my vocation right now would make it difficult to add it in, but perhaps in a couple of years I could learn. I felt like a joy filled child moving the bow across the strings. I was reminded of the music that lifted my soul to grand heights.
Perhaps this explains why I have a hard time with modern music during Mass. I have heard Masses chanted and sung that brought my soul to Heaven’s Gate. Songs like He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand leave me firmly planted in my seat. It is a lot harder for me to remember that we are in the presence of the Heavenly Liturgy at Mass.
This weekend my husband and I are going to go see The Notre Dame University Chorale perform at the local cathedral. I am so excited. It is the first time I will have attended a concert sine 2009. We have a babysitter, so it is a nice date night of dinner and music. Perhaps my soul will once again soar in the presence of transcendent music.
Are there arts that you enjoy or that you may have forgotten about? Do you encourage your kids in the arts? My daughter already is demonstrating a love of music and dance. The arts help us to appreciate God’s beauty and love more fully. I hope you are having a very blessed Second Week of Christmas.
Here are some of my favorite pieces of music: