Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Music As A Unifying Force

I stayed at home yesterday because I didn't feel very well. A trip to the doctor informed me that after 57+ years of living in the Ohio Valley I now officially suffer from allergies. I began to feel badly on Friday and things got progressively worse over the weekend. I thought my symptoms were those of a cold so that's how I treated them. Frankly, I can't tell much difference between a cold and allergies. The cold medicine, however, seemed to do little. Yesterday, after the doctor visit, the allergy medicine worked much better. Today I am pretty much back to normal which means I can breathe. However, I still retain all my normal, everyday aches and pains.

Even though I woke up on Saturday morning with a NyQuil hangover, I crawled out of bed about 7:00 AM so I could do the Alzheimer's Memory Walk. I ate a bowl of Rice Krispies and made some coffee before heading over to my son's house to pick him up along with Chloe. The three of us headed downtown to meet up with other members of my family. Although I don't have exact figures, I am happy to announce that readers of my daily thoughts contributed approximately $300 to Alzheimer's research and my family at large raised approximately $4000. My sincere appreciation and gratitude to every that was able to contribute as well as those that wanted to but couldn't at this time. After the walk my entire family met at Dad's nursing home to surprise him with a visit. Needless to say, the visit made his day and I could see the emotion and happiness in his face. Pictures were taken and as soon as I receive my copies, I will share with all of you.

I dislike politics and I also have some reservations about religion. The main reason is because I believe both divide people more than unite them. Most unity found in politics or religion is simply the false unity of people being united with other people who think and look the same. In my experience, the most unifying force in the world is music. Music can unite people in a way that politics and religion can only hope to do. I was reminded of this while at home yesterday. I was sitting in my chair watching a DVD called "Santana/Hymns for Peace". It was a special concert to promote peace and understanding among people. Carlos Santana was the band leader of a band that included Hispanics, African Americans, and Caucasians. It was a stellar band that included not only Carlos Santana, one of the world's premier guitar players, but other luminaries such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ravi Coltrane, Steve Winwood, as well as some lesser known male and female singers. Together they played the music of John Coltrane, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, and Miles Davis, finishing the concert with Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". All of these musicians and all of the songs were very soulful. Soulful music touches the heart and the soul at a deeply spiritual level. Some music is just fun but some music is also very spiritual and such a concert as this is "church" in a very real way. If you like multi cultural/multi ethnic music with soul, played by soulful and highly skilled musicians, I recommend this DVD. It was all recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2004.

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