Last night as I fumbled with the clicker before retiring to bed, I saw that "Mr. Holland's Opus" was on -- the fictional film about Glenn Holland, a wanna-be composer-turned-music teacher and father of a son who's hearing impaired. It's a good 'ole sappy film which received mixed reviews and forced every non-musician in the country to grab the dictionary to look up the term "opus" and the encyclopedia to brush up on a little Beethoven history. [no Wiki back then, kids].
But I like sap every so often, and I hadn't seen this movie in quite some time. So there I watched and was charmed by a great scene, the one when Mr. Holland teaches his kids about Beethoven and plays the second movement of his seventh symphony. You know, Beethoven's stirring, gripping, seven-minute segment of melodic despair, composed when the master couldn't hear a thing.
I meant to go to bed after watching this part of the film (by now it's past my bedtime). But I got much too involved analyzing a number of *really* good quotes from this movie. For instance:
[good] Principal Jacobs: "A teacher has two jobs; fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more importantly, give those minds a compass so that the knowledge doesn't go to waste."
[better] Adult Gertrude Lang: "There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life."
[best] Vice Principal Gene Wolters: If I'm forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division."
Mr. Holland: Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about."
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra sees the impact it makes on children's lives every day. Thousands and thousands of students get their very first introduction to symphonic music during our Discovery Concerts each year. And they certainly discover -- they discover the beauty, the power, the glory and even the humor that can accompany symphonic pieces. They re-discover the familiar and discover the unfamiliar. What's best: they tell us:
"I had heard all the pieces in class but it wasn't nearly as good as hearing it live. I am so lucky to have had that opportunity." -- Margaret, 5th grade
"The Tchaikovsky piece was like lightening. I hope to play that fast someday!" -- Chloe, 4th grade
"If you guys played on 'America's Got Talent,' you would win." -- Mercedes, 4th grade
Speaking of talent, the Indianapolis Symphony, together with our friends from Dance Kaleidoscope, will perform its final sunFUNy Sundays concert on Sunday, April 22 at 3 p.m. Conducted by our own David Glover, the performance also features our beloved Conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard narrating Carnival of the Animals. If your child didn't get to experience a symphonic performance at the Hilbert Circle Theatre through his or her school, then bring them on Sunday. I said it before and I'll say it again: we want your kid.
Beethoven *needed* to compose. As Mr. Holland states, we *need* the arts. Students *need* exposure to creativity. Children *need* to let their imaginations run wild. On Sunday, we will let them.