Monday, December 17, 2012

Making Music

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
—Leonard Bernstein on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jr.

To see eloquent responses to the sad event in Connecticut, please visit The Blogs I Commonly Read, over there on the right.  There is also this:  Grieving Together.  These writers all have fine and true words, and I really can’t add anything more to them. 

My reaction is to avoid obsessive and pointless checking of the news.  Instead, the Common Household plunges itself in music.

Oldest Daughter came home from college yesterday, and my daughters and I spent part of the evening singing our heads off, going through loads of Christmas hymns and carols to sing when we visit the Old Folks Home next week.  I take solace from the hymns based on Bach chorales: O Morning Star, how fair and bright.  Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light.  And the Advent chorale Wachet Auf, which does not mean “Whack it Off” but rather “Wake, awake for night is flying.”  Lots of light in these hymns.

Then Youngest Daughter and I joined the church youth group for a caroling stint at a local nursing home.  The highlight for YD seemed to be the cookies at the end.

YD likes this new Advent hymn that we introduced at my church ‘carol sing’ a few weeks ago.  Darkness hangs, the world is aching, Yearning for the coming light.  

My son is learning a new piano piece by Heitor Villa-Lobos – O Polichinelo, which must mean “hands are moving really fast.”

Oldest Daughter also brought home some a cappella pieces sung by the Wailin’ Jennys, for instance, Parting Glass

I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
Good night, and joy be with you all. 

Even in the midst of sorrow.


Suburban Correspondent said...

Oh, I have a recording of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers singing that last song. I love it! If you have never heard their Christmas album, you should look for it. Awesome.

The Crislers said...

I thought this post was pretty eloquent itself. I love those old hymns; they bring me solace, which sounds like a pretty good antidote to these times.

Angie said...

I, too, have to avoid the incessant media converage. It's unbelievably tragic, and I pray for the victims' families, but I tend to be overly empathetic, which really doesn't do anyone any good in a situation like this. In order to keep that in check, I have to take a step back. And yes, I've been singing a lot, too.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It's good to use music to heal. I'm drawn to the quieter tunes, too, all week. The gaudy carols seem jarring since Friday.

Cassi Renee said...

I have also been turning the news off. It seems as if every NPR show is about guns or gun control. I don't want to hear the warring sides anymore.

The Wailin' Jennies are one of our favorites bands. We saw them live years ago when we saw a production of A Prairie Home Companion in Madison, WI, and we've been in love with them ever since. The song you mentioned is fabulous, and so is One Voice, from their earlier album.