Back to school today to mentor a jam with Moroccan musicians, in town for a world music festival tomorrow, and students bringing guitars and a banjo, and gladly accepting proffered percussion instruments. I pull out my mandolin as well and we share riffs and laughter, and bridge distances of culture, age, language, if only for these few moments we share. There is nothing as amazing as live music for uniting us in an instant, without asking questions or needing reasons.
as the river runs to the sea
and all round objects roll downhill
truth should win over lies but will
it in the long run will it be
strong enough can hope still carry
our souls and dreams rise heavenward
once we believed perhaps inferred
that all would be well in the end
happiness just around the bend
could lie or be a lie I’ve heard
This evening Johnny O’Neal and his trio play at my school in the evening, so I hang out after office hours, grab a sandwich for supper and head over. The music is made even more sweet by the large number of students who have accepted my offer of extra credit points and showed up to check the concert out. The experience of hearing music live is often discounted by those who get their tunes in mp3s through earbuds. And in my classroom I can only use recorded facsimiles of the real thing, so I try to get my students out to hear a dose of the real thing whenever I can. It doesn’t matter if you’re studying Mozart, Elvis, or American culture in the 1920s, a set of live jazz will open your brain up to a different interpretation of music in general. So I am glad they have taken a chance and come to stretch the boundaries of their musical knowledge to let a true original in.
Today fall’s chill hangs ominously in the air. I walk out my door, turn around and return to throw on a sweater that I don’t take off all day. Leaving school I spy a candidate for the “last rose of summer” for this year. But judging from its bush bursting with blossoms, there may still be a few more blooms before frost. I walk faster through the crisp coolness of evening, and hope so.
Today is all music. My group meets in the morning for our first rehearsal of fall, and afterwards we discuss the year to come over lunch. So nice to get our strings ringing in harmony after the summer’s silence. In the afternoon P & I head downtown to the premiere of a friend’s opera. Seven years in the writing and revision, supported by grants, determination, and the encouragement of friends. At intermission we stroll the deserted city streets and I catch this bee abandoning his nectar and heading to the skies. The opera is amazing. At the end the audience gives a standing ovation and my friend is close to tears, overwhelmed to see his work writ large on the stage. I love the thought that opera– a genre so old and revered– could add a new flower to its lush bouquet here in my little corner of the musical world.