This past Saturday, I had cause for hope. My friend and colleague Rachel and I took a group of our students to an assisted living facility just across the street from the academy where our studios are based. This was our second year visiting during the holiday season, and our students performed a selection of carols for residents at the facility.
Once the music started, I could feel the energy in the room change. Our students and their parents, who at this time of year tend to be stressed and overwhelmed with multiple activities, holiday engagements, and homework, were more relaxed, more open, and simply happier. The residents in the audience were more alert and engaged than when we'd first entered. To experience all of these people truly being present with the music and with each other was incredible.
After the performance, our students presented each resident with a handmade holiday card that they had made themselves. That's when I snapped the picture below, of one of our youngest students presenting his card.
This is what it's about. Music is about creating connections between people. Life is about creating connections between people. And in this moment, I felt a small spark of hope. If this kind of peace and connection is possible just by playing a few Christmas carols, then perhaps there is hope for greater peace in our world.
So, to quote the wizard Gandalf in The Hobbit:
"Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
May your holiday seasons - and your lives - be filled with many small acts of kindness and love, both given and received.