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The beauty of music

Steven Fisher | Monday, December 3, 2012

You can never have too much music. The soul revels in it, and its deepness can sweeten any bitter moment. On Saturday afternoon, I rushed to DeBartolo Performing Arts Center because I was late for a sacred organ music recital. I eventually made it to the Reyes Organ and Choral Hall.

The usher opened the door like a magician, and all at once the organ emerged – colossal and stunning, from the burnt-orange wood to the gleam of its lead-tin pipes. The whole mass of it resembled the ruins of classical Greece. The pipes, like columns, were remarkable – steady, thick and silver, bearing the weight of the timber. Ornamental sculpture of mollusks, waves, water lilies, roses, rabbits, owls, cardinals, grasses and tulips hugged the colonnades, inspired by the idea that everything that has life and breath praises God. Only the organ’s shadow surpassed it in size.

And, like the temples, the organ housed the sacred – music that manifested sweet mysteries, where the melody of faith flourished and the soul loved its beliefs. During some songs, the tune trickled into my ears like the whistle of a nightingale. During others, it splashed against my heart like a tempest tide, bellows striking the core, not ending until my ribs slowly ceased to tremble. And with that, everybody applauded and left.

This is the life of the organ.

I write about it now to share with you, as you hold onto this paper while eating lunch or dinner, or perhaps sitting at your desk. After running helter-skelter from class to class, with finals looming in our thoughts, seize a moment of freedom to indulge in a choir, a concert, a recital or perhaps the morning birds on their branches. It’s a refreshment from headphones and buttons, and a liberation from dullness and anxiety.

To the Theology Department, the Master of Sacred Music program and the artists who performed on Saturday: Thank you.

Steven Fisher
Fisher Hall
Dec. 2