Last night I was lucky enough to catch the Charlotte Symphony doing a Christmas concert at the Belk Theatre. It was a pretty small event that was being held by the Presbyterian church, one of which I have no affiliation to, but I am *never* one to turn down live music.
The conductor was Albert-George Schram. Let me tell you something, I have never in my life seen a conductor with that much spirit. This little man, who looked eerily similar to Albert Einstein (and my father :::::snort:::::) was up on stage bouncing and dancing and getting the audience to participate in things. Too often, we have conductors who further the stereotype that classical music should be appreciated with a stern ear, that we musn't tap our feet in unison with the beat, that we must listen but not sway our bodies to the music. I never understood how they could stand so still while moving their arms in such a stiff manner. Not Mr. Schram, no way! He was dancing all over his podium and it was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I've seen this season. I swear that if you stared hard enough at him, you could probably see little streams of energy-lights shooting out of his head and into the sky like fireworks. He was awesome, and that's putting it lightly.
As far as the music goes, well, suffice it to say that I was in Heaven. It has been so long since I've sat in a chair and listened to some good, live classical music. Actually, it has been too long. That might not seem like such a big deal to some people, but I grew up on this stuff. Literally. My parents were HUGE on taking me to classical music concerts, the ballet, opera, american musical theatre. If they thought it would increase my cultural open-mindedness and artistic tendencies, we were there, front row!
It was almost pathetic, but I knew it would happen. We sat, the overhead lights dimmed, the beautiful stage was lit with all sorts of amazing lowlights in holiday shades, the music began... and I started crying. I know why I cried because it happens to me on the rare occassion that I get to watch live music.
For one thing, I am a musician. In my heart and in my soul there is always music. I hear music when I'm walking through the grocery store, you know, that soft music that noone ever pays attention to as they're shopping? I'm the one that's humming it softly or tapping my fingers to its beat on the shopping cart. I hear music when the Fall winds blow leaves off the trees, I hear it as the rain hits my chimney and I hear the tempo in thunder. In every part of my being there is music and it never, ever goes away.
I hope this isn't sounding crazy. It is damn near impossible to explain these things to people who don't appreciate music in the same way. It's the easiest thing, however, to explain it to another musician.
For me, music isn't just music, it's life. Or, to be more accurate, perhaps I should say that it's more like breath. I need it to live.
It's almost like I've been hybernating for a few years and when I get to hear live music I come out of a long, deep sleep.
Yesterday, I got to wake up for the first time in a long time.
It's not the same when it's you playing the music by yourself. If that were the case, I could have this feeling every day when I pick up my guitar or bang a song out on my piano. Anyone who has ever been in a band knows that. There's something that is literally AWESOME about playing music with others. It can be more meaningful than sex and it can bring you closer to someone than you ever imagined possible.
Music takes my soul and transforms it into something physical, something that I can actually experience with my senses.
It is the closest I have ever come to God.