Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Brings Us Together

After a major tragedy, the power of music brought my school together in a way we would never forget.

Nearly every student had come to the High School that day dressed in their Sunday best. What appeared to be a religious gathering held a much different meaning on this day; the air was heavy and somber. The clock ticked softly in the corner of the room as I waited for the bell. We sat in those faded orange chairs that echoed the great school spirit associated with the tradition of school colors. In the background the professor continued the lecture but all eyes pointed downward. Lost in thought, we all contemplated what had transpired the day before. A girl’s whimper and the sound of tears broke from the row of desks to my right. She had known her. They had been best friends before it had happened— before the accidental shooting.

The bell rang and we all stood up and grabbed our things. Walking down the hallway, all was silent. It was an eerie silence that I had never before experienced. The band had been asked to perform in tribute of the girl who had been shot. I went down and grabbed my French Horn and followed the rest of the band to the atrium.

We felt like an army marching to help our fallen friend. We had a duty that no one was taking lightly. Our instruments were swords; our music, shields. I wonder if the 2,000 young warriors in the Book of Mormon had felt the same sense of comradery and duty as they marched to help their brothers in war; or perhaps the people of Nephi who were committed to defending their friends that could not defend themselves. Did they feel that same sense of duty, love, and determination?

As we neared the atrium, unexpected things began to happen. The buzz of students talking in the nearby cafeteria and adjacent halls softened to a murmur; as we took our seats I glanced down at the music stand in front of me. As I contemplated the song we were about to perform, I realized that the dots on that page meant much more to me than just notes. That day they represented our whole hearts. It was to represent the life of our fellow student. Her hopes, her dreams, her accomplishments. We would perform for her.

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I looked up and was amazed to see a very large number of students now standing around the band. The great throng of students was respectfully silent now, waiting for us. I looked in front of me and up towards our director. I noticed that even Matt who was normally somewhat of a rambunctious kid had sat up straight in his seat, instrument held at the ready. For any other performance he would have been leaning forward and poking the girls who play clarinet. I guess some people have a strange way of flirting.

But this wasn’t any old concert. The atrium and surrounding hallways were filled with students who had all come to remember our friend. I had seen nothing like it before.

The director made a motion. We lifted our instruments and began to play. The melody was a very lyrical, beautiful line. We played that part with as much expression as we could. The tubas and trombones, they gave core to the song as the melody transitioned from instrument to instrument. You could feel the unique emotion that each sound gave. Many different instruments. Many different sounds. Many different people. But we were united as one voice; everyone felt it. The whole school was united. We stood together in memory of her.

The final notes echoed through the school, leaving the air heavy. The silence was thick. As I let myself come back to my surroundings, I heard sniffling from the crowd. What had they felt as we had performed?
The things that bring us together are the things that give us strength. They are things that are bigger than the one; bigger than the individual. That day, that thing had been music. It united us in spirit, in voice, and it gave us strength amidst tragedy.

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It has been said that music is the bridge between Heaven and Earth. Nothing was further than the truth on that one day; we were all brought together, unified through music. 

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