The Music of Tears

I remember it like yesterday.

Packed into the high school gym, staring with hundreds of other students at the symphony orchestra sitting silent in the center of the floor.

A special assembly, an introduction to classical music by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

The principal stepped to the microphone. We hushed. He paused, let his eyes wander over the young faces whose minds were mostly somewhere else.

He spoke, “yesterday, we lost a beloved friend and teacher.”

He briefly described how an older English teacher, a fixture at the school for generations, had suddenly passed away.

We bowed our heads for a moment of prayer. Then the principal introduced the conductor.

Milton Katims, a renowned musician and a wise, compassionate man, dedicated the opening piece to the memory of our lost teacher. He raised his baton and the tribute began.

There was a strange quiet in the gym. Strange because a thousand high school kids were speechless. 

Samuel barber’s “Adagio for Strings” starts softly, with violins, violas, Cellos, and basses blending delicate harmonies around a simple theme.

I looked around. All eyes were riveted on the musicians birthing the beautiful sounds.

Sounds that crescendoed, louder and louder,  to a final climax of heavenly ecstasy. Then,

silence.

I remember it like yesterday.

Stunned.

Crying.

Blissed by the music of tears.


tio stib


You might enjoy this video.


Symphony vs. Stanza

beginning with merely four notes
Beethoven created an immortal symphony
a musical poem with voices numbering
over two dozen instruments

surrounded by the sound of genius
I bounce between inspired and humbled
trying to write a decent stanza

tio stib

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