Several years ago, I was taking down chairs after a fairly uneventful choir rehearsal. The choir was preparing for the upcoming Christmas Eve service, and we had rehearsed, among other pieces, a choral version of Pachebel's Canon in D. The choir and I had gone over notes, practiced tricky spots of other anthems, and generally participated in an enjoyable but not remarkable evening.
I thought that I was the only one remaining in the church as I restored the room, when a woman from our congregation approached me. As tears streamed down her face, she related that she had been at another meeting across the hall from the rehearsal.
She heard the beautiful music that the choir was creating, and she shared the meaning and importance the music had for her at this particular time in her life.
The depth of her experience surprised me, especially since I had not considered how listening to a rehearsal, with all the stopping and starting, the dissecting of parts and reintegration into a whole, would be valuable to an outside listener. What I learned was that I can never know how the music I create - whether in rehearsal or in a Sunday service - will affect anyone who hears it.
This is the miracle of music. It reminds me of a Navajo prayer that I especially love:
Beauty is before me, and beauty is behind me.
Above and below me hovers the beautiful.
I am surrounded by it. I am immersed in it.
In my youth I am aware of it,
And in old age I shall walk quietly
The beautiful trail.
May we always be aware of the beauty around us.