Imagine

In the days after Cory Monteith died, I spent a lot of time on Twitter and Tumblr looking through Cory-inspired posts. I saw many a Glee quote, many a picture of him with angel wings photoshopped in, and many a prayer, but the one thing that made me stop was this:

Trayvon Martin is dead. George Zimmerman will live the rest of his life in protective custody to keep from being murdered. Cory Monteith overdosed at age 31. When will we step up, conquer our fears, overcome our demons, and live courageously, love lavishly and live self-sacrificially so that this pattern ends? I may be a dreamer, but I’m not the only f***ing one.”

-Brandt Russo

This thought got to me for a lot of reasons, but the Imagine quote was the biggest one. Something invisible hit me right in the gut when I read that last sentence.

Let me stop right here and say this: This is not a post about a hot-button news issue. This is not a post about death and loss and the tragic state of our world. This is a post about music.

Music is probably the only thing I have loved for my entire life, and The Beatles are an enormous part of that. I remember so clearly writing in my 3rd grade diary something to the effect of, “I’m home sick today and I have the stomach flu. But I just listened to Let It Be, and now I feel better.”

How powerful is that? Forty years after the Beatles stop making music, some random nine-year-old girl in Texas still uses their songs as a cure for physical pain. That nine-year-old is now twenty-two, and a few weeks ago at school after breaking up her third or fourth fight of the day, she sat herself down at a table and wrote slowly, deliberately.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be
Let it be
Let it be
Let it be
Let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be

And after reminding herself of those words she believed them, not only because of the message that they send but because of all of the feelings and memories that a song can carry.

We all have them. Maybe it’s a song that reminds you of a happy memory, or a certain period in your life, or a particular person. But how incredible is it that just hearing the opening moments to one of your special songs can invoke such instant and powerful emotion?

As a musician myself I know that playing is emotionally cathartic and mentally and creatively stimulating. As a listener I know that music has a perfect way of communicating universal experience in a way that all kinds of people can digest. As a dancer I know that music can help us to express emotions that we may not have even known we had. Music allows us to share our passions, our thoughts, our dreams. And it’s part of being human. Did you know that people were making music before they could talk?

Yesterday a friend and I walked through Central Park. I wanted to see the Imagine mosaic, a tribute to John Lennon that now exists in the place where he was shot.

imaginemosaic

Of course when we arrived there were dozens of people milling around, taking in the mosaic and getting pictures of themselves sitting in the middle. But they were also doing something else that I didn’t expect. They were singing.

Now, I know that street performers are a dime a dozen in New York, and I’m not surprised that there was a guy with a guitar sitting on a bench next to the mosaic and playing Imagine. But what did surprise me was that he was encouraging people to sing along with him. And after he finished playing, this man told his listeners that it was a tradition for somebody to be at the memorial playing at all times.

Somehow, somewhere, someone organizes shifts for performers so that John Lennon’s memory will never exist in silence, and will always be surrounded by music. And more than 30 years after his death, more than enough artists are willing to do it.

Our country is going through a rough time right now, and arguably it always will be.

But on any given day at any given hour, you can go to Strawberry Fields to remember and pay tribute to a man who understood that music speaks louder, lasts longer, and hits harder than gunshots.

imagine

“…and the world will live as one.”

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3 comments

  1. David · November 30, 2014

    So beautiful….. thank you.

    Like

  2. mishanimpossible · December 1, 2014

    Wait, this is really cool. I love your blog. Hope you’re doing well!

    Like

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