As I might never have the opportunity to address so many professional musicians again, I will use it to thank all of you. First, personally, for the pleasure you have given me over the years. Life without Mahler, Brubeck, and Ambrosian Chant would have been little better than silence. But I also wish to thank you professionally. Although music can often tragically be relegated to liturgical decoration it can also aid true worship and give real joy. Whatever your religious beliefs we are all in the transcendence business. If we can’t bring people out of themselves, we should find other work.
I might as well go full nerd and say that a once popular aesthetic theory* believed that each of the arts manipulates and expands the physical world in a different way to reveal another dimension. Music is the most profound because you play with time itself and reveal the very bones of the universe. You can make time speed up or slow down or even stand still. A religious interpretation of this is that you open a space for God and when it all goes right you both feel and give joy, a gift the world cannot give.
Well, I am happy I was able to say that, but it is not a mere digression. When I speak with an engaged couple and tell them that commitment is needed for a happy marriage, they will often roll their eyes before they glaze over and hope I will change the topic. Love is supposed to just happen and then effortlessly maintain itself.
If Coco and Sergio believed this about music, they would make pretty sounds but there would be no real beauty, no joy. I have teased Sergio often about his constant practicing, but I am deeply grateful for it. The difference between competence and excellence is dedication and only then is there transcendence. During COVID, Coco and Sergio, abetted by Ulises and Ann, allowed us to experience a timelessness that could provide perspective, relief and an opening to something more powerful than a virus. More recently Coco has been singing some of the great Chants of the Church at Mass the way they are actually written so that I can hear them accurately, live and at Mass one last time. Music that transports takes more than pronouncing the words correctly and does not occur by accident. I don’t read music, but my soul can feel the real being grasped and shared.
So, Coco and Sergio show each other the commitment that you give to music and receive the God given joy that you have given to others.
*This is most associated with Suzanne Langer’s “Form and Feeling”. Further information can be found at Susanne Langer – Wikipedia