There isn’t a time I can remember when music hasn’t been a part of my life. My two sisters and I would spend hours dancing what we thought was ballet, to the symphonies of Tchaikovsky, the sonatas of Mozart, the string quartets of Borodin, and even the ballads of the Beach Boys. I believe in the power of music, in its melodies and harmonies, in its power to take you to distant places, in its ability to make you happy, sad, lonely, excited. It is because of music I am who I am, and because of music I almost burned down the house.
Every year in December, my dad would buy the latest Christmas choral CD of composer John Rutter. When it came sometime just before Christmas my mom, dad, two older sisters and I would gather around the living room at night, light candles, and listen to Rutter’s new CD. Rutter’s music conveyed a sense of beauty and peace for my family. If you think of the most calming and tranquil songs you have ever heard, they are nothing compared to John Rutter. Just listening to the beautiful melodies of new Christmas carols in candle light put my family in the mood to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
The year it happened, I was about seven. My parents had thought they taught my sisters and me all was needed to know about fire safety and they trusted us to blow out the candles, pour the wax on to wax paper, let it cool a bit, then roll it into balls to play with.
I thought I could achieve this aim without blowing the candles out. So on the night we lit candles and listened to Rutter, I held the wax paper up to the candle and let a few drops drip onto the paper. However, I had to hold the paper very close to the flame to do this. The paper caught on fire and I froze with fear. I dropped the paper onto the table where the candles were set before it burned me and immediately started to blow out everything in sight that was burning. Meanwhile, my family rushed over to see what was happening. It took an eternity of a few seconds to finally blow the wax paper out and we were left in complete darkness with only the music of John Rutter playing as calmly as it ever had.
I believe in music; not because it almost led to disaster, but because, in the darkness that followed the fear, music reminded my family of everything we had to be thankful for. For our family, for kindness, for love, for understanding, for Christmas, for compassion, for me not actually burning down the house. Now every year, I listen to John Rutter and think of what I have to be thankful for. Music is magical, it is powerful, it is thankful. This I believe.
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