A Human Experience

Ever since the first human being discovered the joy of beating on a hollow piece of wood or blowing through a reed, music has been a shared human experience, people sitting or dancing together with their families or friends. It was only after people learned how to press sounds into a disc of wax or harness the air waves that music you didn’t make yourself could become a private experience.

Now more people stream their favorite tunes or walk about with ear buds than come to a live concert. We could have listened to all the music we heard on Friday online somewhere. I did, in fact, do that repeatedly in preparation for the event.

So why take the time and spend the money to come to a concert? I could list many reasons, but today I land on the thing that inspired music since time immemorial—to enjoy a shared experience with our family, our friends, our community.

And with the musicians.

As beautiful as the music was, as brilliantly as it was performed, as powerfully as the emotion was communicated, there was one more element that I believe evoked all the enthusiastic reactions I heard from audience members.

Molly and Anna gave us themselves as well as their talents.

We learned what the music meant to them, how deeply attached they were to the music of Florence Price as they played from her original manuscript.

We learned how their music served, and serves, people. Molly’s founding of Project: Music Heals Us harnesses the talents of musicians around the world to enrich the lives of people struggling to cope with challenges of many kinds.

And we learned how their contributions to the world in turn serves the music they play. Magnitude by Andrea Casarrubios arose from their work with refugees and Prayer by Vivian Fung emerged from a pandemic experience.

In all of this, the experience of sitting immersed in the sound waves that filled the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium was so much more than sourcing similar sound waves from a CD player or from Spotify, as great as they may be. It was a moment of being touched by two wonderful, caring human beings. It was a moment of music transcending art.

One audience member summed it up pithily: “Excellence with a heart.”


*   *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


What to write about after a concert like Friday’s? So many ideas. I picked one. What else I thought about:

• lamenting the suppression of so much beautiful music by women for so many years.

• celebrating the renewed interest in that music.

• looking beyond the standard musical fare—violins, pianos, string quartets—to find beauty in unexpected places like a viola/piano duo.

• telling you about the interaction between two master teachers and students at the masterclass the next day (There is a muscle that runs from your baby finger along the outside of your palm toward the wrist. They talked about it to string players. David Jalbert made a big deal of that same muscle to piano students in last year’s masterclass: “That is the strongest muscle in my body—I can break rocks with it.”)