Allison Duggan, Label Manager
To be apolitical, the past year has been a dividing one for our country. We have faced backlash from each other, violence, harassment, shootings and plenty of events that were linked to the election and to the state of our country. We are raw from the past election, and no matter what side one has voted for, the fight continues.
Music is a strong force, and a strong force that we should use to not only heal but to use to express ourselves and create a movement. As Leonard Bernstein so eloquently put it…
You need to create art and make it even more powerful during the most difficult times. This quote was stated after Kennedy’s Assassination, when the country was in utter despair and shock of President John F. Kennedy’s demise. Bernstein curated a concert to commemorate the emotions he felt as well as how the country felt, with Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. If you have not heard it before, definitely feel the music here:
As a composer, the notes and sounds of music have been healing, but creating has been something out of this world for me. I feel my anger, my passion, and my own self lost in all things music. I recently recorded two songs and wrote part of a wind ensemble piece to describe my feelings (which I cannot wait to share with the world). I wrote two songs that describe my sadness for this divided country, and the break-up feelings I feel with what this country used to stand for. This was not only a therapeutic time for me, but a time to realize that I need to share my feelings with the world and it needs to be through music. Recording has been delightful but emotional, which is the only way to make the music move so profoundly. I cannot control everything that will come in the next few years, but can start to share my feelings through the best communication I know: music.
As a performer, I play bassoon at Grand Street Community Band. As long as I have been a member, this band has been a second home to me. I go every Monday after a long day of work in the music industry to play bassoon with talented musicians, with whom I connect with in an emotional and musical level. We go out after rehearsal to talk about sports, life, broadway shows, travel, politics and anything you can think of. This wonderful group was formed by Jeff Ball, who wanted to have a band for adults of any musical caliber to play their instruments and have a home, and to play together wonderful music. As it grew, he created the The Metropolitan Music Community (MMC), which currently holds three bands that play excellent music at a professional level.
Last week at rehearsal, our conductor Brian Worsdale gave us a profound speech before performing about finding the balance to voice his opinion on this election without pointing fingers and discussing the importance of unity. “What we have learned in the past 16 months is how to be divided…it is time to unite”. He discussed his experience with performing during crucial moments in American history, and how the one thing, music, made the moments more powerful, and the fight for a better world more passionate and prominent through music.
I will never forget that rehearsal. We played with so much feeling, it was like the notes were popping off the page into my instrument.
All of us, who have different lifestyles, political views, backgrounds, united to create beautiful music. If anything was learned that rehearsal it was that music can be the force to unite us. It can be the force to bring people together and feel their emotions, one piece at a time.
All we can do as listeners is feel the music together, All we can do as musicians is play together.
If you want to catch the next (MMC) concert, please check out our event on December 10th! Let us feel music together!