It’s amazing how time compresses incredibly fast with such tremendous pressure this time of year. I think it has to do with two competing ideas. We want everything to be just right for a holiday that’s anticipated and promoted more than any other day on the calendar. At the same time, we want to enjoy the joyful, peaceful bliss that holiday promises.
How do those two ideas work together? Just look at your face in the mirror in the morning. If I didn’t laugh when I see mine, I’d surely cry. Then I put my foot on the gas and just keep going.
But then again, occasionally there are those moments that no-kidding find the bootstraps to our soul and lift us up out of our “sanity-challenged” time and space and into a state of exhilarating, enlightened calm. It’s exactly that gorgeously suspended but fully alive state that those who attended the last week of the Westborough High School Winter Holiday Concert series got to experience.
Even if you don’t believe in angels, I’ve gotta’ imagine you have an idea of how they might sound if they sang. That’s just a hint of how our high school choral groups, led by Alyson Greer Espinosa, sounded last week. I love sitting in the front rows (even when – or especially when (Ha!) - they’re taped off) so that I not only hear but also actually get to feel the music vibrate on and through my body full-on. I barely breathe. I just listen, watch, feel and float.
And while I was in that wonderfully relaxed and idyllically clear state Tuesday night something happened that I’d never experienced at any musical performance – ever. It happened during the second piece the orchestra played, a piece innocently titled “Lullaby” by William Hofeldt.
I can’t remember how the tune went at all right now (though, I will look it up online), but what I do remember was a terrific feeling of flying freely through clouds and clear blue sky – just on my own, without any plane to carry me. It was magical. And just as with the choral music, I barely breathed.
When the piece finished, I looked in front of me at my years long good friend, choral piano accompanist Judy Ellis and saw a tear stream down her cheek. I touched her shoulder. She took off her glasses, wiped her eye and all I remember her saying was, “Wow!”. Another good friend of mine, Leslie Considine, also had moist eyes. Then on Friday while I was at the concerts the music students put on for the whole high school, I heard from Spanish teacher Ana Palladino that the auditorium was full of people with wet eyes.
And the people who made that happened – all students, all teenagers, all highly skilled, all with feeling and all under the incredibly sensitive direction of their conductor, Kristin Chartier.
Talk about gifts that keep giving and very often do it in ways that continue to surprise so richly! Thanks very much to all those who participate and lead our Westborough Music Department. Looking forward to more to come!
Hope you have a highly spirited and very happy holiday week!