Could you imagine going to a wedding, birthday party or graduation without music? Most of life’s big celebrations are enhanced by music. It sets the mood, engages people to connect and helps open the heart.
I recently went to a wedding in Washington, DC for my friend’s daughter. I knew a lot of her family since we had been friends since junior high. The wedding was beautiful . We then proceeded to the reception. And what a reception it was. We had a cocktail hour, then dinner and afterwards dancing. Ali and Dan , the wedding couple, chose a live band, Another Level, that one of the best dance bands I have ever heard. Eric and I danced for 3 hours like high school kids. All of my friend’s (Linda) family was on the dance floor. It was great. There were grandparents, parents, young adults, teenagers and kids. Everyone was out there.
I was thinking how wonderful it was to connect with old friends and meet new ones. I grabbed Linda and said let’s go dance. She is normally a little shy. But after coming out on the floor with me, you could not get her off. Most of us are in our 60’s but we were dancing side by side with the 30 year olds and having a blast. The thing that struck me most is how music brings people together. I could not imagine just sitting at a table and trying to make small talk for hours on end. Dancing is a way to immerse yourself in the music and express how you feel. Our bodies were meant to move and what better way than dancing. No one cares if you have the correct moves, all that matters is that you are engaging in the joyful celebration. Songs are played that remind you of your childhood, adulthood and even the present time. There is nothing like a song to bring a memory into sharp focus from long ago.
I had the honor of going to two Celebrations of Life recently. One was for a friend’s 34 year old son who died in an accident. At the end of the service, they played “Happy” and people were dancing in the aisles, choosing to remember the happy soul of my friend’s son in music. The following month, I went to a Jewish Celebration of Life for my long time friend, Wendy Brown. She was a patron of the arts in Raleigh and a generous donor. She had a smile on her face whenever she listened to the NC Symphony or even when she was talking about them. I know that Bonnie and Brian were some of her favorites. A quartet from the NC Symphony performed at her Celebration including her two favorite artists. When they started playing, I truly felt my friend was listening. It touched my heart more than anything since she had passed away. I realized how much I was going to miss her impish smile and her unwavering joy when listening to the symphony, watching the ballet or going to the theater.
I always want to cry when I sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” , whether it be at church or at a meeting. We recently sang this at the “Woman’s Club of Raleigh” meeting and I had to hold back the tears.
“Let There Be Peace On Earth” by Harry Connick, Jr.
“Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, The peace that was meant to be. With God as our father,Brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother ,In perfect harmony. ”
When I think of having peace on earth and it beginning with me, it touches my heart and makes me feel anything is possible. We are all connected and with music , it seems to make the connection stronger and more palpable. You can feel the energy flowing form one person to another when singing or dancing together. I wonder if music is one of the Creator’s ways to join us together especially when we seem to be drifting apart.
The next time you hear a song that melts your heart, try to enjoy the feeling of contention to all living things. After all, that is what love and life is truly about, our connections.