This last weekend was busy. There was a funeral visition, a baby shower, watching the news coverage of the “March for Our Lives”…and I attended three concerts in three days. Not something I normally do, but the music just happened to fall that way.
They were three different concerts. The first was an organ concert on a new organ. The second was a symphony concert with Yo-Yo Ma as the guest soloist. And the third was a choral concert of film music.
All three were enjoyable. All three had moments that touched me.
But there was one moment that reminded me that music can create sacred space and sacred time…and brought me to tears.
One of the selections in the symphony concert was by Leonard Bernstein, whose music I enjoy. However, this was music of his that I had not heard before–“Three Meditations” from Mass, arranged for cello and orchestra. The conductor gave us some background, both of Mass and of these specific pieces–that are the reflective times as the mass celebrant is struggling with a faith crisis…when all he has known / believed is being shaken.
They’re powerful pieces–and Yo-Yo Ma presented them with soul and passion.
But…and this is the sacred experience…as the last one quietly ended, leaving questions hanging in the air, there was a moment, a breath, and then the ‘cello began the “Prelude” from Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suite #1 in G Minor .
There was a hush in the hall…a sacred hush.
When the piece ended, I think everyone recognized that we had experienced something special…a sacred time. And it somehow seemed sacrilegous to break the silence with applause…although we eventually did.
We shared in moments of questioning…of, perhaps, our own faith crises. We had seen young people asking–no, demanding–help in creating safer places. Much of what we have known in the past doesn’t seem to hold true any more, and there seem to be questions…more questions…and yet more questions, perhaps without answers.
Yet in that sacred time in Helzburg Hall in Kansas City, Yo-Yo Ma and Bach acknowledged those questions–and responded with a prayer…the music of hope.