A window for the soul

Only a short distance, perhaps four feet at the most, separates me from the tall narrow window.

The window is one of my favorites in this old stone country church. At the top, set against a backdrop of blue sky peppered by wisps of clouds, there hovers a white dove, yellow rays of light emanating from its breast. Below this more sky gives way to purple-brown rolling hills set against a yellow plain, while long-stemmed white lilies shoot up from the foreground. The entire pastoral scene is edged in splintered red. You can imagine how beautiful this composition appears when the morning light streams in through it.

The little country church is packed this particular Saturday, the first of the new year. People from all walks of life have gathered to celebrate the life of a woman who drew her last breath three days short of the turning of the final page of the calendar.

This woman was a teacher, and music was her area of expertise. She coached voice, and many of her former students have come to pay their respects. The choral group she founded has also come to perform one of her favorite selections. Actually, we are told, every selection in today’s service, including the readings, was hand-picked by the woman three weeks before she died.

The service opens with a solo, an adaptation of a song from the Broadway musical Baby, The Story Goes On.

So this is the tale my mother told me
That tale that was much too dull to hold me
And this is the surge and the rush she said would show
Our story goes on

Except in this version the word “teacher” has been substituted for “mother.”

So this is the tale my teacher told me
That tale that was much too dull to hold me
And this is the surge and the rush she said would show
Our story goes on

It is obvious to everyone listening that this young man is a trained vocalist; his performance is practically professional. But there is a bit more to it than that, because his voice carries the emotional crescendos of what can only be described as love.

And all these things I feel and more
My teacher’s teacher felt and hers before
A chain of life began upon the shore of some dark sea has reached to me
And now I can see the chain extending
I am next in the line that has no ending
And thus it is our story goes on

As I sit listening to these words sung with such passion, I think of Mr. Holland’s Opus, the film in which Richard Dreyfuss plays the role of a high school music teacher. When he’s not in the classroom coaching his students, Mr. Holland is at home, working late into the night on a musical score that is surely destined to become his masterpiece. He never publishes it; but in the end we come to see that Mr. Holland’s greatest work was the legacy of love that he passed down through his students. In a sense those students became his masterpiece.

As the song wells up into the final stanza, morning sunlight breaks and streams through the window by my shoulder.

It is as though the sun has risen on a surreal landscape of color.

2013 Trinity Windows 1-10-2013 004

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3 comments on “A window for the soul

  1. Yes, it was just like that. Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

  2. Sharon says:

    I wish I could have been there. Jana as well as Trinity will always have a special place in my heart. Jana is one of the wonderful people at Trinity who guided me under her wings to a more personal relationship with my Lord. I have no words to show what she meant to me; and yes, she did have wings while here on earth!

  3. […] annual event was the brainchild of Jana Pivácek-Cole, a talented vocalist and voice teacher, who succumbed to cancer at the close of last year. Since 1998, Jana’s Tapestry Singers, composed of former voice students of all ages,  has […]

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