Thursday, June 6, 2013

Carnegie Hall

I subscribe to Smart Tix, an online ticketing site that will periodically email me great deals for events in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.  Last summer I was notified about an event at Carnegie Hall; a benefit concert featuring Lang Lang, a Chinese pianist.  That was about all I knew at the time.  Tickets were $18, and not only have I always wanted to go to Carnegie Hall, I thought the girls would just love it.

Hurricane Sandy postponed the originally scheduled event and at the time we thought June was such a long way away.  Somehow it snuck up on us and we found ourselves making plans to meet up with Greg in Manhattan.  

There are times when a discount may not be a good thing, like our West Side Story experience, but then there are times when a discount can gain you access into another world.  This event was filled with men in tuxedos and women in ball gowns but it was also filled with children, most of who I can only assume, are pianists themselves.  One little boy, who was perhaps four, leaned against the railing, joy radiating from his little body and his fingers furiously pounded away on the railing as he imitated the play of what must have been his hero Lang Lang.  


This was a joyful night.  I have never seen someone of Lang Lang’s caliber play an instrument before.  It was awesome.  Literally awe-some.  I knew without a doubt that his hands were guided by God.  We casually toss around the word passion and passionate.  I don’t have a passion like the one that overtook this man when he sat at his instrument.  I wish I did.  Watching him play made me wonder how we get a gift like this.  It is beyond talent and beyond determination, although these both are certainly factors in his ability to play the way he does.  At one point Lang Lang was almost expelled from his music academy in Beijing for a "lack of ability".  I wonder how God himself decided who gets which gifts and at what point they mature.  The gift of music.  The gift of healing.  The gift of art.  The gift of dance.  Are we all born with the capability but only some of us develop it?  What if I have missed my gift and it is lying underneath some layer of my sub-conscience that I have yet to tap into?  

6 children were invited to play with him. They played three of Braham’s Hungarian Dances for four hands.  I watched them and wondered how a child or a parent discovers this within themselves or their child.  The youngest of these performers was 8.  I played piano as a child.  If my Mother had placed me in Suzuki method and assisted my development along its theories, would I have had the potential to play Carnegie Hall as a child?  I don’t think so.  I had the desire to play and drive to learn but not that innate gift from God.  So if my gift is not music, what could it be?  I love art, but I am no Monet.  I love writing, but I am no Jane Austin.  I love motherhood, but I am certainly no Mother Teresa!  

As I listened to the sounds of Lang Lang and his guest performers: John Legend, Oh Land, Renee Fleming and violinist Joshua Bell, I was not bothered by the questions that were brought to mind later, but rather, I reveled in a state of peace and joy.  The final song of the evening brought all the performers together for a rendition of Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music.  I had to wipe away tears from the corners of my eyes.  

Music and the arts connect our mind and our spirit to our body.  Whether you are the musician or the listener, the sharing of a gift like this is a blessing.  I wish it were accessible to more people.   My goal is to expose the girls to as much live music as possible.  Last year we focused on live theater.  This year it is music.  Whether it is a free concert on our town’s green or a paid concert at a iconic music hall, we will attend with pleasure.  The art of music needs to dwell within us all.  The experiences with the arts are what makes us truly come alive.

The girls made a video of this trip for 7 Cool Homeschoolers.  Check in out!

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