Last night I attended a party at a home in Medford, MA.
The host had invited a couple of pianists and a bunch of friends who like to sing to celebrate his birthday.
After some delicious food and inspiring conversation — including how the Boston Beer company decided to withdraw its support of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston — we all moved from the kitchen into the living room.
And then we made music together for three hours.
Sometimes it was one singer accompanied by a pianist.
Sometimes it was the whole room singing together.
Sometimes one of the pianists sang.
At one point each of the pianists even accompanied the other — who was uncharacteristically standing to sing.
The daily news from our mainstream media brings so many unhappy stories into our homes and into our hearts — planes which mysteriously crash; snipers who fire on civilians; species being wiped out by poachers; wars being waged over natural resources and political power and religious beliefs…
I often wonder what we human beings are doing here on planet earth — and how music fits into the larger equations and patterns unfolding on a daily basis.
Are we here, as some teachers suggest, so that our souls can experience fear and love?
If that is the case, we are certainly doing a great job with the fear component of this cosmic experiment!
Maybe music is one of the tools we can use to respond to fear.
I know from my own experience that listening to music — and making it with others — can lift my spirits.
And can reconnect me with my deeper feelings.
And can bring my energy — for lack of a better word — into harmony with others.
Last night someone at the party sang the great Bacharach/David song “Alfie.”
It reminded me of a recording (embedded at the top of this blog post) which Doug and I made a few years ago at his studio in Lynn.
I am reassured that other human beings, such as Burt Bacharach and Hal David, have pondered similar questions, too.
And I am very, very grateful that my life is now focused on making and sharing music with others.
PS: Let me know if you notice which word I sang incorrectly. Maybe someday Doug and I will go back and fix this small error… or maybe we will leave it as I have heard some weavers of rugs do…