Car trips without music – monotonous.
Bonfires without music – unemotional.
Concerts without music – senseless.
Taizé prayers without music – impossible.
A world without music – unimaginable!
Music is a mighty force. It has the power to make people happy, sad, reflexive, anxious, confident and so much more – in a way that no one else can. It has the power to touch your heart.
Over the last weeks, music has been a loyal companion to the three of us in many different ways. To hold a Taizé-prayer three times a day means to sing several Taizé-songs three times a day too. Thereby we don’t restrict ourselves to the popular chants, but every now and then we like to “experiment” with some new ones. An utterly different kind of music leads us through Swiss countryside when we are in the car. It is usually chart music from the radio. What is more, we perform many modern and traditional church songs in the services we arrange. The last ingredient to this cocktail are our favourite pieces that we are happy to play to each other. All in all, music plays a huge role in our small provisional community. It is very exciting for me as a musician to get in touch with all those different kinds of music that enrich our stay here in Switzerland. And I am very grateful that I have a possibility to take a piano or an organ and put this cocktail into life for example when I accompany the services and prayers. It is also a great fun to jam with my two friends who are very good singers.
Last week I was asked to accompany a baptism on Saturday on the organ. I was very excited because it wouldn’t be a “normal” baptism but a Croatian one. I agreed gladly. No one in the parish knew the family of the child to be baptised and the Croatian priest who spent that week in religious retreat. So I decided to prepare a colourful mixture, from the instrumental pieces, the chants from the Swiss catholic songbook to the Taizé songs. The three of us were very excited what the plan of the unknown priest would be. It turned out that the Croatian priest was a young gentle and open-minded monk who greeted us hearty. He said that the musical design of the baptism would completely be up to me. But I was unsure. ‘Wouldn’t the songs we chose be too difficult? Should I shorten the songs or replace them with instrumental pieces? No. Let’s give it a try and stick to your plan’, I said to myself. The moment I started to play the first chant I was amazed to realize that all the people were joyfully singing together. And so it happened. All of us – the German-Polish Taizé community and the Croatians – were singing Latin, Engish and Russian Taizé songs from France in a Swiss church. Unbelievable!
Music is a mighty force. It has the power to destroy the borders of language, origin, social rank and wealth. It has the power to connect people.
Martin Luther once said: “Music is a donation and a gift of God that expels devil and makes people joyful.” I think he’s right.