did it make you cry?

Irene asked me that question Saturday night.

We walked up the aisle, Nancy and I. Irene looked at us and said, “Did it make you cry? Did you smile?”

I didn’t cry. I did spend most of 35 minutes grinning, first with recognition, then with anticipation, then with exhilaration.

Irene had asked a couple of weeks ago if Nancy and I and a bunch of other people wanted to come to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic concert. Irene was going to be playing with the orchestra. I said, “sure.” Irene is a friend, the orchestra is good, and we seldom attend.

Having said yes, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest, I am not always as excited as I ought to be by orchestral music. I understand the concept (quite well, thank you), but don’t always have the attention span nor the appreciation that I should have for more traditional pieces.

Having said yes, however, we were committed.

And that, often, is how we work. We have friends ask for help, ask for advice, ask us to come over. And we agree, because that’s what friends do. And we aren’t begrudging the time, but it is more for them than for us.

And then I looked at the program for the concert. There was Bernstein. There was Beethoven. And then there was Saint-Saens. My heart jumped. And so did the rest of me.

Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78. That’s what the program said. Which says little more than an address. “Organ Symphony” is what the program had in parenthesis. That says a bit more. One of two or three pieces of music that Jon Swanson listened to over and over while trying to write papers and read and study while an undergraduate is what the program didn’t say. But should have.

I’m not sure why I first heard this piece. I won’t even try to describe why it resonates so deeply for me. You have your own pieces of music, works of art, expressions of creativity that have deep emotional attachments.

What I know is this: I said that I would do something out of deep affection for a friend. In return, I got to hear that friend play a piece of music incredibly well working with an orchestra of people who played it incredibly well in a room that sounds magnificent.

Sometimes we take steps of faith and discover not obligation but absolute delight. As if someone knew exactly what our heart needed.


My advent ebook is now available as a downloadable pdf, advent2008, and as a digital book on yudu.


3 responses to “did it make you cry?

  1. bless and you will be blessed perhaps?

  2. I always cry and laugh over music, sometimes in the same song. I even cried a bit at Zigfried and Roy, I liked it so.

    I think a Philharmonic would leave me in tears, several times over.

  3. Jon,
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful notes. I’m so pleased you did say “yes” and then proceeded to be fed by our music making. It was number 5 for me: once with Ronald Ondrejka, 3 times with Edvard T, and now this time with our guest conductor, Daniel Meyer. What a thrill for me always but especially when my dearest friends come to enjoy. I makes it even more meaningful for the performer.
    Blessings at this Thanksgiving / Thanksliving time… something you and Nancy do so well!
    Irene Atorganist