Music as Meditation ~ November 5, 2017
Kindness a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
Evie's Melody Ellen Schwindt
Home from Hagerstown Waltz Ellen Schwindt
Poor Wayfaring Stranger traditional
Turning Back a poem by Lao Tzu, rendered by Ursula K. LeGuin
Turning Back tune from the Cantata Tao and Te Ellen Schwindt
Lillehammer Waltz Jonathan Jensen
Velvet Tear Chip Davis
Adagio excerpt from a forthcoming piano sonata Ellen Schwindt
Bagatelle in E flat major Ludwig van Beethoven
Andante Semplice excerpt from a forthcoming piano sonata Ellen Schwindt
Bagatelle in c minor Ellen Schwindt
This Music as Meditation is dedicated to a young woman I know who is facing a cancer diagnosis with grace and optimism. I met her when she was a teacher at our area's Head Start. I visited the classroom once a week to sing songs and play music games with the children. I watched her guide the children, many of whom needed extra attention, with patience and love. I appreciated her shining spirit then. When I heard about her cancer diagnosis, I wanted to do something to help her through. This performance is meant as some kind of comfort. I have placed a basket at the back of the church to collect donations for Jen's Friends—an organization that is helping her and others in our community who are facing cancer. You can find more information about this group at www.jensfriends.org.
As I was gathering music for today's event, I was focused on finding simple tunes that would act in contrast to some of the more complex piano music I was planning to play. When I saw the tunes written in my scrawling hand-writing on a long piece of paper, I realized that many of the pieces were arranged or composed with other people in mind. Evie's Melody was written for a baby who was baptized At Christ Church in the fall of 2017. I arranged Poor Wayfaring Stranger for my friend Peter with whom I played folk music for a long while. Turning Back comes from a cantata I composed on poems of Lao Tzu as a graduation gift to my son. I transcribed and then arranged Lillehammer Waltz for my husband Bill because he loves the tune. Home from Hagerstown Waltz I wrote for Bill, or maybe because of Bill, before he was my husband.
The benefit of composing for others, though I am certain it exists for me, is also completely mysterious to me. Making a piece of music for someone is a strange kind of gift—one that feeds me as much, or rather more, than it helps the intended recipient. I do trust that it also helps the recipients. Evie's parents were quite appreciative and I know my husband likes it when I practice one of his favorite tunes. I hope today's music, dedicated as it is to my young friend, gives her, and all of us, some sense of comfort “while traveling through this world of woe.”
Music as Meditation is meant to be a healing experience for all of us. You may learn more about this event and my other music endeavors by finding me on facebook, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by e-mailing me at email@example.com.