Thursday, January 22, 2009

Power of Music

Today we are going to turn our sights on music rather than theatre. I was reminded by a friend that before mass communication, music was able to communicate over great lengths of distance. Bagpipes, fife, and drum were used by military command along with bugles to communicate commands over battlefields. Orchestras and bands would be able to be heard across a quite countryside. Indeed, music itself is able to convey emotions in a way that many other arts are not.

On thing that continues to haunt me the day after the inauguration is the wealth of emotions contained in the music - both for myself and seemingly for others who participated and attended yesterday.

As I listened to Aretha Franklin sing My Country 'Tis of Thee at Barack Obama's inauguration my mind drifted back to September 2001. Dad was driving me back to Northwester to start my junior year of college and we were listening NPR's broadcast of Senate deliberations a day or two after 9/11. In a move of pure emotion, patriotism, and any other words of coming together, the whole chamber began singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic - "Glory Glory Hallelujah the truth is marching on." I remember being choked up and completely over come by the emotion. But there was a strange sense of hope that glinted for an instant. Looking back seven years later, I now realize that we had the world on our side. But rather than reaching out, our country - our leaders and citizens - decided to fight our own battle.

As the notes of My Country 'Tis of Thee triumphantly faded yesterday, I think there is the hope that we will be offered that opportunity again. This time, I think that we as a country will take it. We've found it very lonely being the sheriff of the world, and I think that we just want to have friends again. I hope that this is the beginning of a new era - people certainly are open to it. Carpe Diem!

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