Several months ago, I promised my friends in Classical Bells that I would join them in the recording they were scheduled to make on October 19, out in a small recording studio in Ann Arbor. A couple of times each year, they do demo recordings for one of the larger publishers of handbell music. This fall’s batch of new tunes included a couple of piano/bell combo pieces, so they asked if I’d do the piano parts.
As is par for the course with Classical Bells, things always turn out to be more involved than you would expect. Actually, that’s just the nature of music in general. So a gig that started out being just one easy piano piece, turned into one easy and one not so easy piano piece, plus “garbage bells” on first one, then two, then three bell pieces. Then, Jim got involved on a piece where the bass bell ringers needed some extra muscle.
But I’m not complaining. Far from it, in fact. Yesterday’s rehearsal reminded me once again of the restorative power of music making. Because I went in dragging my residual yoke of sadness, the one that seems perpetually tied to my shoulders, and came out with a definite spring in my step and a considerably lighter heart. For the first time in a long time, I felt as if I were where I needed to be, doing what I was meant to do.
And once again, I realized how important it is for everyone to have something they’re passionate about. For me, it’s music. For my friend Kim at work, it’s running…and though I couldn’t run 26 miles if my life depended on it, I understand her excitement about the marathon this weekend, the one she’s been training for the past six months. It’s the same excitement I feel about preparing for a special concert, like the ones we did with the Detroit Symphony several years ago. And it’s the same sense of satisfaction and pride whether you’re crossing a finish line or listening to the last tones resounding in the air.
Whether you’re a musician, an artist, a writer, or an athlete, it’s this passion, this sense of satisfaction, this feeling of all’s right-ness, that helps us survive everything from the occasional boredom of everyday jobs to the searing pain of grief and loss.
So I’m thankful for my moments of music, and thankful for the friends who invite me to share with them.