In a celebration of “Mozart’s Genius” earlier this year, Jeffrey Brown of PBS NewsHour interviewed composer and pianist Robert Kapilow about the musical giant.
(In the process, Kapilow provided glimpses not only into the underlying architecture of a particular masterpiece, an opus known as Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, but of the genre itself. If you take six minutes to watch the clip, you’ll be glad you did.)
Observing that classical music is about “becoming, not being,” Kapilow asserts,
“It’s not what a musical idea is when you first hear it, … but it’s about what it can become or how it transforms over the course of a piece of music.”
A thought-provoking pearl worth pondering, this insight may have relevance beyond the realm of musical composition.
From the vantage point of a conservative, it might sound like: It’s not what a foundational principle is when learned or discovered, but about what it can help people become as it iterates through a community and transforms into a culture.
And from another perspective: It’s not just about what parents’ examples are when bestowed, but about what unfolds as they reverberate through a family and influence the growth and development of their children and grandchildren. Of course, the examples can be constructive in their effects, and they can be otherwise.
Exercising personal privilege for a moment, I consider my parents, Don and Geniel, to have set wonderful examples for our family. Their integrity, compassion, work, sacrifices and service are not only the essence of what composes the core of ‘family as the fundamental unity of society’ and thereby of functional civil society, but their examples also are very personal and edifying for each member of our tribe.
As members of the so-called G.I. generation, they endured and survived the Great Depression, World War II, the unprecedented technological developments and social dynamics that followed – and have done so with faith, hope, honesty, courage, humility and persistence, like many of their siblings and contemporaries. And our folks have done so with cheerful hearts and great humor. Though we bid a temporary farewell to our dear Dad and Grandpa nearly three years ago, we are blessed still to have our Mom/Grandma/Great-Grandma with us.
Today, we celebrate Mom’s 90th birthday. A five-foot dynamo, she continues to volunteer weekly at the IMC hospital in Murray, regularly play the piano in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building downtown, and keep her grandkids in stitches as she stays in touch with them via social media – “Instagramma,” as they call it. Last year, she remodeled her front room complete with a new piano, and this year she bought a bright red Camry! We tell her that’s the way we want to grow old – but find ways to say so gently as for the past few decades she has referred with a wink to the milestones as “celebrating anniversaries of my 29th birthday.”
Geniel is also loved and revered by dozens of nieces and nephews, hundreds of friends and thousands of students whom she taught over a 34-year career as a public-ed, 4th-grade school teacher and itinerant district music specialist. To these we can add the countless lives she has touched by generously sharing her musical gifts at weddings, funerals, church services and community events … the epitome of civil society in action.
With all their years of effort and effectiveness in so many important dimensions of life, Mom and Dad regard our family – still very much a work in process – as their magnum opus.
And we will continue to do our best to live up to their expectations and priceless examples.