DCCA News: Music strikes a chord


Cincinnati Magazine’s most recent publication is dubbed “The Music Issue,” and features stories highlighting many of the musical milestones achieved in the Queen City. Editor-In-Chief John Fox introduces the theme with the following: “I suppose it’s possible, in theory, to live a happy life without music.” That statement immediately grabbed my attention.

I was instantly reminded of a long-ago literary club season of programs centered on favorite composers in which one of the learned ladies began her presentation by remarking that music had never held any importance in her life. Her statement not only astonished me, but inspired a newly-felt compassion for the woman who had somehow managed to struggle through life without the benefit of music to accompany daily events, enhancing joys and providing solace when sorrows appeared.

Editor Fox goes on to say that “musical moments resonate forever,” a belief I totally share. Those moments include diverse joyous memories—from delightedly watching my 3-year-old granddaughter amaze assembled members of The Brethren’s Home Choir by singing a perfect rendition of a beloved Christmas carol to seeing Elton John perform “Candle in the Wind” at a long-ago Farm Aid concert in Indianapolis. I also fondly remember the first time I ever saw Pete Seeger in concert at Wright State’s old gym, and when Artie Garfunkel nailed “Bridge Over Troubled Water” singing with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Fraze, and happily recall being mesmerized at a Chicago theater by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, plus many many more treasured experiences immersed in music.

Around the world, regardless of language, soothing lullabies put babies to sleep. Children from all backgrounds spontaneously sing about their experiences, whether good or bad, mundane or extraordinary. Religious services and patriotic events benefit from music that can inspire, often more effectively than words. Music can and has been utilized by despots to emotionally entrap followers. I easily can understand how that works, since I instinctively want to join the revolution every time I see Evita or Les Miserables, in spite of the fact that the less-than-happy outcome of those real-life historical efforts is well-known and aptly documented by the time the curtain falls on those iconic musicals.

The basic fact is that music strikes a chord within us that provides universal connections; music viscerally connects us to not only our own past, but to earlier eras, past events that may have affected nations, altered relationships, changed lives. A strain of familiar music can instantly evoke a moment in time, as well as the emotion connected to that treasured moment. Music reaches across the years and across space, somehow mystically connecting us to each other—if you’ve ever stood in a crowd singing “Amazing Grace,” “We Shall Overcome,” or “This Land is Your Land,” you know that connection. Music somehow intrinsically conveys a sense of truth shared by everyone within the range of its sound; those making the music, those hearing the music are united for one brief, shining moment that transcends barriers to reach souls and minds.

A life without music, while theoretically possible, would be a much diminished life, without a reliable resource buffering life’s bleak realities and amplifying its joyous celebrations. Music is everywhere; may music surround us forever!


By Marilyn Delk


Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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