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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Amazing Musical Experience

I’ve been to a lot of concerts, some amazing. The Leonard Cohen concert in St. Louis when Cohen had just started touring again. The first Jimmy Buffet concert I had ever been to—including the shenanigans of parrotheads.  Or the many Dylan concerts, some with Phil Lesh—where the Dead Heads were the biggest part of the show. If you read my blog you know some of the other amazing musicians I've heard. But I never expected a funeral for a long-time friend’s Mom in the small chapel of an independent, assisted-living facility to be the most remarkable musical event of my life.

The family who had lost it’s matriarch at the age of 89 has a strong musical connection. All three daughters have beautiful voices. And they had arranged for an opera singer to perform solos during the service. Even though I know nothing about opera and did not recognize the songs, I couldn’t help but realize the soloist had a spectacular voice. But there was yet to be a more amazing event.

I had known the deceased as the Mother of my friend. A beautiful woman with good humor and grace. A lovely eulogy was delivered by one of the daughters. She mentioned how many ways her Mom had left the world a better place.

When it came time for the relatively small crowd in the intimate chapel to sing the traditional hymns, I suddenly was overwhelmed with the beautiful voice from the young woman sitting next to me. She had the most amazing voice I have ever heard. Not louder than others singing in the crowd, but of a quality and fullness I’ve never experienced. As she sang “Amazing Grace” you could well imagine an angel had joined the chorus of voices. Through the rest of the hymns I sat as if stupefied with my mouth open, but not making a sound.

I know as little about opera and ballet as any subject. But I once saw Nureyev dance. When he came on stage, all the other ballet dancers immediately looked as if they were wearing lead weights. He appeared to defy the laws of gravity with invisible wings. That’s how different this young woman’s voice was from any I have ever heard. I later learned that Kate, the young woman sitting next to me and a granddaughter of the deceased, is an international opera singer.


I know you don’t go to funerals to hear the music. And I can’t say that I have ever before enjoyed a funeral. But in that little chapel in St. Charles, Missouri I realized in an acoustic revelation that the world really was a better place because the deceased had lived. She had left behind a world of music in her daughters and grandchildren. And she made me wonder if maybe I need to start listening to opera. 

1 comment:

  1. How lovely! What a wonderful treat for you, a magical moment in your life. I love moments like that.

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