Ensemble Competition 

This afternoon I experienced the perfect break. My grandson Dayan, a senior at Carl Junction High School, competed at Missouri Southern State University with a brass quartet. I love listening to these talented teens play music together. I picked up my daughter Elissa from work and we slipped into the music room where the musicians would perform. 

Ensemble Competition
Elissa and I arrived early enough to watch the group compete ahead of Dayan’s quartet. Although they were from the same high school, I didn’t recognize any of the musicians. However, I enjoyed their lively performance. 

After smiles and sighs of relief, the group quietly exited the room and moments later, Dayan and three other musicians took their places. I have been present during many of my grandson’s concerts and marching band performances and various competitions, and I never tire of watching him play his tuba. 

Ensemble Competition
Ensemble Competition

I am always deeply moved by these young musicians. They devote time and energy to practicing their music. And each teen focuses on learning his or her part well, so that when they play together, whether as a band of hundreds or a small group of four, they harmonize wonderfully. 

In Dayan’s quartet there was a trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba. For the competition they play Bayou Bagatelle, and played it beautifully, each contributing their part to create something bigger than they could individually. 

Ensemble Competition
I watched these two groups perform today with a heightened awareness of the unique gifts each musician offers to one another and to the world. Yesterday my community lost two Joplin high school seniors, in two separate freak accidents. Two 18 year olds, set to graduate in May. My heart breaks for their families. The community’s collective heart breaks. 

There are no easy answers to the many questions that are circulating through a shocked and saddened city. Watching the earnest faces of the musicians today, watching Dayan as he masterfully played the tuba, listening to the music that they created, I know those young lives, while seemingly cut short, left vital legacies behind. I was made aware today that our lives matter at every age, and an 18 year old, as much as a 58 year old, can change the world, or change another life, simply because he offers his gifts, and himself, to others. Like today’s musicians, those young men played their unique parts well, contributing to a larger story that we only occasionally catch glimpses of, and rarely understand. 

Thank you to Dayan and the other musicians that I listened to today, for reaching a tender ache in my heart, and reminding me that each of us, no matter our age, color, gender, orientation or financial status, is significant and crucial. Each of us impacts this world and beyond, the ripples created by our lives flowing outward, like fine musical notes that echo into eternity, beautifully harmonious forever. 

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