My daughter performed at Carnegie Hall on Sunday evening with the National Children’s Choir. So, naturally, her grandma from Virginia met my husband, son and me in The Big Apple where we did all kinds of fun “New Yorky stuff” all weekend before we took a cab over to Carnegie to watch my sweet 12-year-old make beautiful music on the same stage where so many other historic moments have taken place.
I had been to Carnegie Hall one other time for a Homecoming video taping several years ago. I didn’t sit in a seat that time. I was backstage watching the performances through a small crack (when I wasn’t running around helping whomever needed help off-stage). That was a remarkable night. Paul Simon even joined in with all our gospel artists to celebrate freedom, faith and the heroes of 9-11. We remembered together with gratitude the sacrifices made for our freedom and those who have lost their lives to tragedy right there in New York City.
This trip to Carnegie Hall was a totally different kind of wonderful, though. I watched my daughter enjoy that very freedom and opportunity we had celebrated a few years earlier. Her pure, flawless voice joined with hundreds of other kids (with “almost-as-pure,” “almost-as-flawless” voices, of course) from across the United States and around the world. And though she is young, this experience was not lost on my big-hearted girl. She later admitted that she teared up when she heard the crowd cheering for them when they finished singing and she described how amazing it was to meet kids from Brazil, and all kinds of other far-away places, and to sing together about things they could all relate to.
The audience was overcome, too. It was beautiful. Her choir’s last song was my favorite. The chorus ends with the line, “We’re changing our world one song at a time…” And I was reminded all over again how music really does change us from the inside out. It brings people together and helps us find words when our emotions render us speechless. Music tranforms our attitudes by reaching below our intellect and striking the deeper chords hidden by our thick skin and distracted minds.
Hearing that reminder of the power of music coming out of the mouths of babes – one of whom was my own baby girl – was a great reminder that whether you make music, write music, or simply enjoy listening to music, it is important. And music is not only important while you are standing on-stage (or backstage, or in a seat) at Carnegie Hall. It is equally important when you are singing in the shower, or plugging in your iPod for a run, setting a musical environment in your home, and a thousand other occasions.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t Carnegie Hall that I was most impressed with Sunday night, nor was it the excitement of being in New York City. It was those perfectly sweet voices reminding even me – someone who works in the music industry everyday and has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the industry – that music is a beautiful and precious gift, created by God, and is meant to be explored, celebrated and savored. Regardless of how the music industry has changed, a great song will always be a great song.
Keep writing, singing, playing, dancing.. and listening. And let’s keep our kids singing, too, so they can remind us over and over again that one song really can change our world.