Music and Shadows

11454297503_e27946e4ff_himages.pngWe settled into our balcony seats at the University of Maine Yuletide Concert, looking forward to a couple of hours of holiday music and a chance to touch base with our youngest child. Shortly afterward, the lights dimmed and a recorded announcement thanked everyone for coming and noted the location of emergency exits.  Pretty standard. Then, the recording added that in case of an emergency, audience members should stay in their seats and listen for and follow instructions which would be announced over the PA system. Not so standard.

Immediately, my thoughts skittered to San Bernadino, Paris, Roseburg, and to the sites of other recent shootings. I shuffled uneasily in my seat and looked around, noting others doing the same.  What kind of world are we living in that we gather to hear music and wonder if this gathering could be a target? The warm glow of expectation dimmed and I felt besmirched with awareness. And throughout the performance I remained aware–of opening and shutting doors, shuffling exits and entrances. Just slightly, peripherally aware.

My daughter’s choir performed in the second half of the show. Stage lights dimmed and the choir members revealed small lights that blinked slowly, off and on, twinkling on the dark stage. After a few moments of expectant hush, they began to sing and the beloved glistening notes of “Silent Night” spilled into the air. As their voices soared to fill the hall, my eyes unexpectedly filled with tears. I was moved by the beauty and energy of these united voices, my daughter’s amongst them, but also by a concurrent sense of loss and sorrow.

The echo of that earlier announcement and the resulting awareness still lingered.  How has our world become one in which the shadow of terror has managed to penetrate even this small performing arts center in rural Maine?  I looked at my daughter. I looked at all the beautiful young students, with their beautiful young voices weaving together with such power and glory, and I was simultaneously thrilled by their amazing potential, and frightened by the uncertain future that lies before them. Before us. And my tears spilled over.




11 thoughts on “Music and Shadows

  1. Beautiful small moment writing! I shared a similar experience last Saturday night. My family attended an annual holiday concert and I found myself looking around and making a plan in my head. So sad. Innocence lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks. I was really a bit blindsided by the experience. I’m not sure if it makes me feel better or worse that others have similar thoughts. I guess it’s just a sad reality.


  2. jarhartz says:

    Beautiful slice. These thoughts are in the corners of my mind as well. It breaks my heart. We must hear the beauty amidst us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I’m not sure we can rid ourselves of those thoughts, but we can continue to live fully, refusing to let them restrict what we do. You expressed the joy and the sorrow so beautifully here. I do think of my grandchildren and the lives they will grow up in, hoping that we can make change for them. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. elsie says:

    Slowly our normal behaviors shift as the world changes. How sad that we must feel on guard at all times. Where will this end? You have expressed what many feel when being in a place other than home. Do I feel safe when I’m out? Sometimes, but you never know.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dana Murphy says:

    This is a beautiful post and has me teary as well. I can just hear that lovely rendition of Silent Night and see those twinkling lights. I still have hope for this world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. svalter says:

    Beautifully written. Such a strange world we live in where we have to be as aware of danger as we do of the beauty around us. Your writing made me feel as though I was there with you, just as aware of the music and the lights and the undertone of uneasiness that preceded the performance as you were.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tara Smith says:

    Beautiful post, it captures what so many of us feel at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another touching piece. Made all the more so with your mother/daughter connection. Your writing has such power when you write of your family.


  9. Music often moves me to tears. It’s too bad it’s power can’t be harnessed to heal all the hate in the world.


  10. lisaorchard1 says:

    What a moving post. It is a sad state of affairs when we have to worry about a terrorist attack during one of our children’s musical performance. I agree with what reading to the core said, “It’s too bad musick can’t heal all the hate in the world.”


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