Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"60 Minutes", African Classical Music

This Sunday's "60 Minutes" segment about the development of a Classical Symphonic Orchestra in the middle of a war torn African country that is in muck and mire, hunger, oppression and any other crime against humanity that you may think of brought home to me the value of music and how it lifts the inner spirit of man.

There was this Air Pilot who lost his job in this country. For some reason he felt the need of a Classical Orchestra was needed very badly in his country. The only problem was there were no instruments, no musicians, no music and he himself wasn't a classical trained musician. Somehow this didn't stop him in his pursuit. He started to acquire from wherever he could old broken down instruments. With the help of some compatriots they started to repair the instruments. He started to acquire music from wherever he could. Somehow the word got around that this guy was doing this crazy thing and people from near and wide came to see if they could partake in this experiment. They finally got enough together to have a Choir, enough musicians and instruments to attempt to play this classical music. A film company from Germany heard about this endeavor and filmed a documentary which led to German musical professionals, about oh, I am not sure, about 5 of them, to come over and lend a hand. The Opera person gave singing instructions and developed the instrument of the voice. The people were taught how to read music. The night came and in an old broken down garage they gave a concert. All dressed up in their finery, these poor mistreated people proudly gave a concert which was most inspiring and heavenly. They finished with  Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" which was magnificent. I am sure purists would find fault but not I. This group which took untrained voices, musicians, broken down instruments lifted their spirits with enthusiasm and pure joy rising over their lives which are mired in war and misery. I may have gotten some thing wrong about the segment but you can check it out yourselves by surfing to CBS.com/60minutes or something like that. But the important thing to me was how important music is in our lives as human beings.

The performers came from far distances some traveling three hours a day just to take part in this project. The streets were mainly unpaved, the people were mainly hungry and poor yet the experience of music gave them something that their lives could not. This shows the reality of music being a religious experience by which I mean the lifting of one's spirit to heights that make even the most deplorable conditions bearable. For those who choose not to believe in a Supreme Being I ask them to consider the universe being composed of things we do not see but can only feel. The human spirit is like that. The inner feelings can lift us to unbelievable feats and accomplishments which can't always be explained by the mundane, the touchable things but the factors that can't be seen and touched. To those who do believe in a Supreme Being music is his/her way of speaking to us and our way of answering. In both cases music is the voice of the Gods, lifting our spirits so high that even if our lives were at the lowest ebb if we listen and let the vibes seep into our very being it can transform us into something more than what we would be without it.

Let music transform you if it hasn't already. Let the religious experience I speak of happen to you. AND if you don't believe this can happen to you just check out the "60 Minute" segment of this past Sunday, April 8, 2012 about how an African community has lifted up their souls and mine through Classical music.
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