Can You Hear the Birds?!

And just like that…it’s beginning to look a lot like Springtime in Kentucky!  The sun is starting to shine more days than not, daylight is extending well into evening, and flower buds are beginning to bloom.  Though cliché to say, the spirit of renewal is all around and I, for one, am feeling its reverberation inside and out.  Sitting down to write this month’s blog – with the theme of “what makes me feel inspired” in the backdrop – I took a moment to think about all of the things I associate with Spring.  Not too long into that process, I found myself in a memory from the Spring of 1997:

My freshman year in college, I took a course called Music Appreciation to fulfill a Fine Art credit.  The class was taught by an adorable, kind, passionate, and elderly aged Professor named Charles Mosby.  I can only speak for myself, but I believe everyone taking the class – classical music devotee or not – looked forward to spending ninety minutes twice a week listening and learning from Professor Mosby.  His presence was more elegant than it was demonstrative and when he played music for us to hear, he sort of became the music.  It’s hard to describe, but imagine how a treble clef looks and then imagine someone moving as if he was one…that was Professor Mosby – the personification of a musical note.  He would shut his eyes and sway softly to the sounds filling the room, softly pointing out the nuances that made a particular piece special.  I don’t know which I ended up appreciating more: watching Professor Mosby share his joy for music or the music itself.  What I do know is that I remember the experience of being in that class more than any other class.  One class, in particular, stands out.  We were learning about Antonio Vivaldi’s greatest work: The Four Seasons, with a specific focus on the first of the four concertos –  “La Primavera” (Italian for Spring)Professor Mosby was explaining the contextual meaning of the arrangement and alerting us to the instrumental soundswe would hear in it that conveyed the feeling of Spring.  After giving us the narrative about the song and its composer, he played it for us to hear.  We had our antennae up for what we had been instructed to pay special attention to and when the chorus played…which goes something like this: da da dadada da dada da da dadada da dada (for full effect, download the actual music) Professor Mosby opened his eyes, waved his fingers to the tune as if he were conducting an orchestra, and exclaimed, “Can you hear the birds?!”.  I’ll never forget it.  I don’t hear “La Primavera” often, but when I do…I hear the birds!

When I think of Professor Mosby, I think of someone who brought and gave his all.  I’m sure he’d be glad I remember him with such fondness, but, I think, much more pleased to know that he helped me understand what it looks like to truly appreciate and take pleasure in something.  I will forever associate the sounds and feel of Spring with the joyful exuberance he imparted all those years ago.  More than that, though, Professor Mosby’s legacy inspires me to remember how important it is to do something you love and to share it with people.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your stage or platform – just that your heart is in it.  Your impact may be far greater than you could ever imagine.     

To whom or what do you bring your all?