Music In The Darkest Of Hours
There has been a significant amount of politically-charged news surrounding Americans this week. In the midst of reading through many, many articles, the story of the deportation of the 95 year old Nazi struck me hard. I'm not sure why.
Maybe it is because it had taken the federal government decades to realize he had falsified his visa application, and then it took the same federal government decades after that to finally implement deportation.
Maybe it is because this man still claimed he had not collaborated with the Nazis in their heinous extermination of human beings, although he worked for the murderous SS.
Maybe it is because our country is slowly but surely forgetting the sacrifices of our ancestors who stopped Nazi Germany from taking over the world with their regime of hate and evil.
So in the midst of this story and the reminder that such evil still resonates in the world, the question begs, how does music come in and provide hope during the world's darkest hours?
I've found two answers to that question, and both provide the encouragement and hope that only music can give. It is just a matter of taking the time to go back through history and finding these remarkable stories.
The first story is one of profound bitter-sweetness. A few months ago, the world premiere of many musicians' compositions were performed in Israel. However, none of these composers were alive to experience this live performance, as they wrote these pieces while enslaved in a Nazi concentration camp. Most were exterminated by gas. But their music lives on.
The second story provides a bit more insight into how Americans were able to fight World War II with their own businesses. This story only came out a few years ago, but the Steinway family decided to take the time to channel their creative energy into building upright pianos and delivering them to each branch of service, painting each one in accordance to each branch of service.
Known as "Victory Verticals," these pianos were parachuted out of planes, built inside submarines, and delivered to the nearest USO Centers. The idea was to give these draftees, some of whom were musicians, the opportunity to have music at their disposal while surviving the horrors and hell of the war.
The beauty in the midst of this dark time period in our world's history reveals that music cannot and will not be shut down by evil and hate. It also goes to show you that music is always around us, we just have to seek it.
So regardless of whether we are talking about the 1940s or the 2010s, we can hold comfort in the fact that music will always defy the darkness and shine brightly in the light of goodness, truth, and love.