As fast, as horrifically fast as horror can strike, violence can explode, and loss can sear, so too sometimes art can have a similar swiftness and force. I remember the astonishing, heart-rending-but-redeeming act of the young (Juilliard?) cellist who simply sat down on 9/11 to play for the first responders and rescuers in NYC at the armory. It is what he could do, and maybe it was not much. But how the juxtaposition of beauty and savagery, of infinite, incalculable loss and glorious hope and beauty, can serve the moment, as I believe it did then.
It is an age-old response, mirrored by musicians and poets, authors and painters, architects and cartoonists, sculptors and dancers, for perhaps as long as we have known how to create. It has fueled funeral masses, elegies, Guernica, long black walls, reflecting pools, orations, sketches, cave paintings, light shows, and so much more.
In the face of yet another in a ceaseless chain of pain forged in violence, hate, unhappiness, torment, and grief, composer and songwriter Jason Robert Brown seems to have opened his heart as well as - as he sings - his arms, and so opened all of ours.
Simply setting each of these names, now inscribed for all time in an ever-growing roll of terribly dubious honor among the named and nameless, the faceless and the dearly missed, he sings and plays what so many must feel.
Shared in the belief that art, music, song, creation can somehow have the power to heal the hurt, bind us more closely together, reverse the forces of darkness, and express what mere words never can.