Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Morning Thanks--the music of the spheres

Just a couple of weeks ago, a gymnasium full of grandparents, ourselves among 'em, were serenaded by seventy-some kindergartners who stood up in front and told us in song, rather shamelessly I might add, how terribly much they loved us. Okay, when it comes to such buttering up, consider me a sweet roll. Emotionally, I'm a pushover. They were darling. I'm speaking of my grandson, of course. 

His class of five-year-olds were put up to it by teachers who know very well how their bread is buttered.

I've attended Grandparents Days for years, school holidays where we're encouraged to sit beside grandchildren on plastic chairs I'm sure have a weight limit I wholesomely surpass. But it's fun, and I take my little seat, and there we sit doing math problems or word games and listening to them sing. We are loved. They are too. It's all charming.

I confess to have missed a few. My wife can probably tell you when and how many. But those days are a joy and a PR bonanza for the school. If you don't roll up early, you park somewhere across town.

The oldest of our grandkids is now in high school. I don't know if there is a Grandparents Day for her this year, but I sort of hope not because any time kids do anything in public already there's already an SRO crowd. You want to fill an auditorium, put people's kids on a stage or a court and we'll drop everything. I sound like an old man, which I am.

So we went, last night, to my granddaughter's very first high school music concert. The place was jammed. Started with the high school band, which would have been far better had my granddaughter kept up with her flute, but she didn't so the performance was close but not a ringer. 

Then a troupe of underclasswomen sang, including our Joce. They were fine. My wife says every high school girl today has long, straight hair. If they're almost all thin, tall Dutch-Americans, finding your own can be a problem. 

Then the fledgling choir, hers. Nice, fine, but the foggy voices of adolescent boys generally aren't ready for prime time music. Give 'em a year or two, voices will deepen, and they'll be fine.

Then the traveling singers, the real musicians, who were not just good, but incredibly good. Amazingly good, I thought, but I'm not a musician.

Then the concert choir, upper class upperclassmen.  Totally awesome (I'm trying to be hip) Listen, they were terrific on music that seemed incredibly challenging.

Finally, half the school, a mass choir accompanied by a quartet of instrumentalists on "Holy, Holy, Holy," an arrangement the director introduced with a testimony that left the packed house ready and willing to be utterly moved.

We were.

I don't know how to describe that anthem. But after years of Grandparents Days and a calendar full of grade school concerts where our fancies were tickled in ways embarrassing to admit, this concert was something from a different planet altogether because I didn't watch my granddaughter, didn't focus on the way she looked around or didn't. I didn't fawn over progeny.

This time it was music that filled my soul, music that brought tears, music that filled that auditorium with love and worship. This time it was the sheer magic of nothing more or less than art that glorifies God and thrilled me, music as praise, music as worship, because where words stop, some old sage once said, music begins, a different language, but a language we all understand somewhere deep within. 

It wasn't "charming." A stage full of first-graders singing "This Little Light of Mine" is charming--especially if one of them's yours. 

That concert last night spoke the language of the spirit, human and divine. From where we sat, I could hardly see my high school granddaughter, but that's okay. I didn't need to because I could hear her music. I just hope she was listening too.

Last night, after that incredible concert, we drove back home straight into the big bright face of a Hunter's Moon, lighting the earth like none other.

This morning's thanks is for the night, the music of the concert, the music of the spheres.


Anonymous said...

I wish you had included some of the concert music, your description almost takes me to the concert!

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