Of Music and Hope

French horn

More than once this past weekend, I leaned over to someone sitting next to me, raised my eyebrows, and said things like, "Wow. That was special,” and “I’m so glad I got to hear that!” My daughter, Amanda, was amazed by the string quartet that had their music memorized, and by their movements as they played that were nearly as beautiful as the music itself. I won’t soon forget the flute duet I heard–and I’m not even a huge fan of flutes! A trumpet solo that finished off the weekend for us was a unanimous favorite. The girl was simply AWESOME.

Jeff and I were the privileged chaperones for the kids from our daughter’s high school who had made it to the Washington Music Educators’ Association State Solo/Ensemble Competition. For two days, we got to see nervous teenagers play their instruments in ten minute, closely-timed intervals. Some of the kids looked like they had been working their whole lives for that ten minutes; others looked terrified and like they still couldn’t figure out how they managed to get selected. All of them, however, put forth their best efforts and looked proud and relieved when they were finished.

Central Washington University, host of the event, was also hosting a big math competition the same weekend. Friends of ours have a son whose robotics team made it to the world competition, also this weekend, in St. Louis. Just thinking about it all made me feel so inspired. Here are kids who understand that succeeding at something worthwhile takes time, practice, trial and error, and listening to coaches and teachers and directors. Here are kids who understand that time spent alone or with a like-minded group–away from cell phones, television, video/computer games, the mall, and all the many distractions our kids have to learn how to manage these days–is time spent that can help them accomplish something special.

All weekend long, people in our group and strangers sitting around us were having surprise reunions with long-lost friends from college or old neighborhoods, or with children of those friends. One woman recognized her first RA from college, and was stunned to find out that both of them had children performing in the same instrument, one after the other. They hadn’t seen each other in over twenty years. It sounded like percussion had run deep in both families, and they were thrilled to be in that place together. The band director leaned over and told me how kids with that kind of understanding in their families have such a head start.

How great that not only did all the kids in these special events this weekend do something meaningful for their own lives, but it looks to me like they have all made an investment in their future families’ lives as well. And that is something that gives me hope, not just for this generation, but the ones to come.

. . . the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied (Proverbs 13:4b)

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and short stories for children, and occasionally a book or article for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
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4 Responses to Of Music and Hope

  1. Debbie Austin says:

    Truly inspiring! “…succeeding at something worthwhile takes time, practice, trial and error, and listening to coaches and teachers…” Applies to our writing dreams as well!


  2. You’re right, Debbie! These thoughts remind me of a quote that has meant a lot to me over the years since I started working on the first novel: A lasting work requires extensive preparation. I wish I could remember who said it, because I think of it often!


  3. Debbie Austin says:

    I just googled it. Douglas Rumford said it.


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