Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moved by the Music

Last sunday's service at our Unitarian Universalist church honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with music. It included 8 songs. Each one spurs the singers or listeners to action either to protest evil, war, and violence or to promote peace. I loved this service I hope it inspires action in me.

We all sang If I Had a Hammer, Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn Turn Turn by Pete Seeger.

One of the hymns was My Life Flows on in Endless Song. It is a beautiful uplifting song well known and sung strongly by the congregation. Enya has a beautiful version found here with Lord of the Rings Elf photos (a bit kooky, but I love it).
Here are the words to the final verse:

When tyrants tremble as they hear the bells of freedom ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near how can I keep from singing
To prison cell and dungeon vile our thoughts to them are winging;
When friends by shame are undefiled how can I keep from singing.

The choir did a great job singing the spiritual Wade in the Water. If I close my eyes I can see Alvin Ailey's dance Revelations when I hear this song.

Here's the portion of Alvin Ailey's Revelations to Wade in the Water. Seeing this work live is life changing. One of my dreams is that I could have been present when this dance was presented for the first time. One of my best memories is the first time I saw the dance live. I went with my best friend from high school whose father was a cellist in the orchestra. We sat high in the sloped seats of City Center (or was it the Joyce Theater) in NYC. I was overwhelmed by the music, the dance, the passion of the audience. My body was echoing the movements. If you'd like, check out some videos of other portions of the dance, This is beautiful all stillness, strength and poise especially dance beginning at 5:45. For power, jumps, muscles and celebration try This! Imagine the entire audience clapping and cheering and swaying through that dance that begins at minute 7. Or even better, SEE IT LIVE!

Finally, John Lennon's Imagine was performed. The piano was played by the church's music director and the Minister read the lyrics to the music. A church where the minister can suggest that the world would be a more peaceful place without religion is the church for me.

And this is what you find when you spend a snowy freezing day searching the web: Bill Clinton singing Imagine with Jewish and Arab children. Here.

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