Today’s guest post comes from Chris in Owatonna.
How many times have you been to an art museum, looked at a certain painting or sculpture, and started to choke up or cry, feel joy or triumph?
I certainly don’t recall any extreme emotional moments looking at art.
How many times have you looked at a photograph, read a book or a poem, watched a play, or experienced any other art form, and been moved to tears or other powerful emotions?
Once or twice? I’ll admit I’ve done that on rare occasions. A few years ago, I surprisingly choked up at the climax of The Help by Katherine Stockett. And yes, it was the book, not the movie.
Now, how many times has music brought you to tears of either extreme joy or great sorrow?
For me, dozens of times.
Right now, I bet some of you are saying, “Wait a sec. What about movies? Lots of movies make me cry. What about the ability of the filmmakers and actors to elicit such powerful responses?”
To that, I say try watching the movie with the sound turned off or the music edited out somehow. Example: the scene at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life where Harry makes the toast to “My big brother George, the richest man in town.” Everyone singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing sets up that line. Without the music, it’s just a happy party. The song signifies the town coming together for George and the apparent miracle that saves him. That’s why my waterworks start. The old cliché, “Cue the violins,” rings true because without an effective musical score, most movies would carry much less emotional impact.
This leads me to my point. I’ve stumbled across another one of those rare moments: a song that is arranged and sung so powerfully, so perfectly, that it stunned me into silence, then brought tears to my eyes. The last time that happened was the first time I heard Eva Cassidy sing Over the Rainbow on the Morning Show way back in February of 2000. I remember that day as vividly as September 11, 2001. It was just before 8:00 and I was cleaning up my breakfast dishes. Through the whoosh of the water, I heard this sweet voice and simple accompaniment. Mesmerized, I turned off the water, went to the living room, turned up the volume, and listened attentively. When she hit the last high note, then finished with that gorgeous chord progression and final arpeggio on the guitar, I melted. I couldn’t buy the CD fast enough, and when I got it, listened continuously for days. I’m sure I listened 100 times that first day, putting it on endless replay. By now, I’ve listened to Eva sing Over the Rainbow THOUSANDS of times. It can still make me cry on occasion, at the right moment for whatever reason.
This young man’s name is Sam Robson, and the performance I’ve linked of him belongs in the rarified strata of Eva’s best singing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I only wish he’d put it onto a CD so I could buy a copy. In the few weeks since I first heard this, I’ve listened at least 100 times and can’t get it out of my head. Please listen on your best speakers, or better yet, with a good pair of headphones. And no distractions or multitasking. Just soak up this most beautiful noise.
What music moves you to tears?