The Magic is in the Music

'Claire Notes'
Photo courtesy Claire McNeilly copyright 2009

From the outside in, the stage was set for the annual school Christmas Concert. The auditorium was a stir of proud parents, grandparents and friends dressed for the season, excited as they came in from the first very timely snowfall of the winter. As the snow continued to fall lightly outside, the stage inside was aglow with the classic Christmas setting and the busy swirl of activity that accompanies those last few moments before curtain call.

And then the concert began. The night was a mix of Concert bands, Jazz bands, Dixie bands and multiple choirs celebrating with us their talents

As I sat and watched my daughter standing in the front row of the choir on stage, I was at such peace. With a big, confident smile, I tapped my foot to the beat, I moved my hands with the conductor, and my body swayed naturally as it remembered holding my daughter when she was still a small child. My breathing and my heart rate aligned in unison with the thrum of the music. Every bit of me wanted to dance. Such healing. I looked around and noticed that I was not alone in my desire to move with this music. Heads were bobbing, people were singing, and some were swaying along with me.

At one point in the evening, Silent Night had its turn. For me, thoughts of a Christmas visit to my grandmother’s house came back. During this particular visit, the family was sharing downstairs after supper as I snuck upstairs to play the old organ that lived in the spare bedroom. I sat at that organ until I had Silent Night memorized. I was about nine or ten and I was so proud of myself. I loved revisiting that memory. I loved that this choir brought that memory to me this night.

The effect music has on us is truly magnificent. And further, what a gift these talented children gave to us all. It was so uplifting.

To Mr. David Reed , head of the choir at Centennial Secondary School, to Mr. Blair Yarranton who conducted the bands, and to all of the students involved in making that night a success, my deepest appreciation.

A quick add to this post: I was reading Meditations on Joy by Sister Wendy Beckett and a page rang true to this post, calling to be published here;

" Nothing can guarantee us joy, or coerce its presence. But for many people, music is an occasion when joy is likely to choose to visit us."


  1. I bet this concert was awesome. I can imagine you sitting there, watching Claire, with that big and lovely smile in your face... By the way, this picture of her is so cute, please tell her I loved it. It's Christmas time, let's celebrate. If you don't mind I'd like to ask your postal address, I'd like to send you a Christmas Card - I take Christmas really personally.

    Much love from this friend of yours in Brazil. Take care and keep smiling.

  2. Nice recollection of a special night and memories.


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