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Another reason to play music

Posted by fiddlerdi on Sunday, December 30, 2007

The day after Christmas I received a phone message from one of my best and most passionate young players. Sage is 16, has been playing violin for eight years, is such a natural musician and wise beyond his years. He is also Native American and he and his family are among some of my most interesting friends. Sage's message was that he had a "really big favor to ask me". When I called him back, he told me that his beloved Grandfather, "Papa Don" had died of a heart attack, at home, alone on Christmas Day. Sage wanted to play a tune called "Southwind" and asked if I would play guitar to accompany him for the funeral.  His selection was interesting in that one day, last summer during lessons, we played this tune together, (Sage on fiddle, me on guitar) and it was one of those magical musical moments that I value above all others. It's one of those times when both players seem to connect on the musical level and play something so beautifully that it almost brings tears to your eyes. You just know you are "in the moment", "in the groove" or however we might choose to describe it.  It was memorable. Perhaps it was so, because unbeknownst to us, we would play this again at his grandfathers funeral six months later. Sage was a lucky young man to have a grandfather like Papa Don. Don came to every one of his performances. Don brought him to lessons on days when he couldn't get here any other way. Don taught him many important things and spent time with him, and let Sage know he loved him very much.  It is a good thing to know that kind of love from your Grandfather.  The funeral was done Native American style, (one of the better funerals I had ever been to), Sage's father, Papa Don's son, presided. There were representatives from the Onieda tribe to which he belonged who opened the ceremony in the native language and closed the ceremony in a beautiful native song. I had cautioned Sage that it would be a very emotional thing to play at the funeral but his maturity level transcended that.  He spoke of his grandfather as tears came and went. Then he composed himself to play his fiddle one more time for his grandfather. He started a liittle tentively and then as before transcended the moment and took everyone to his broken heart with his playing. I was having a little bit of hard time myself with the tears part playing with him. Afterwards, many, many people spoke of his beautiful playing and how it had comforted them and touched them, and what a wonderful musician he was. Isn't it amazing that when you have the ability to play an instrument that you can touch people, heal people, and bless people without saying one word. What a beautiful language and what  beautiful gift to our world are all our musicians. Especially the fiddle players (IMHO).

1 comment on “Another reason to play music”

loy Says:
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 @3:41:58 PM

Beautiful story Diane, if you get time someday would you play "southwind" and post it here?  Thanks-Loy

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