The other biggie, Beethoven, whom I had a chance to hear was a surprise and a bonus. Our Confirmation class went to St. Michael’s in Germantown to learn about and help with their Saturday midday community lunch.Saturday night, I came to Advent expecting to hear Bach and Brahms (and other biggies) as our talented Music Director Vince Ryan presented a benefit concert. Hearing him play the organ was like being brought back to my time in Wittenberg, where the weekend would end with a Friday evening organ recital in the Stadtkirche. Vince provided just enough program notes that my mind had something to “look” for as I closed my eyes and listened and appreciated the gift of music. (Luther: Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God.). All of us in attendance experienced a wonderful end-of-the-week concert.
As our class was serving the food, one of the guests came and asked the pastor if he could play the piano in the fellowship hall. “Of course,” and he played sometimes with a hymnal, sometimes from memory various hymns and liturgical songs. It became pleasant background music.
Later, as I was sitting, viewing the fellowship hall and all the tables filled with young and old, I realized he was playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. I thought — what a perfect anthem for the occasion. The people did not exactly sing, but they all had their parts in the chorus of conversation, sharing, and greeting that helped create a wonderful community in that place.
Oh, the gift of music — for all times and all places. I now have more picture of the Church to conjure up when I sing, “Joyful, joyful, we adore thee.” Music – it’s just wonderful!