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June 18, 2014
The Peraza Music Workshop students at the Flying Pig Half-Marathon 2014
The Peraza Music Workshop students
at the start of the Flying Pig Half-Marathon 2014

A few weeks ago, I had an amazing experience I will never forget.

My 12-year old son is a violinist member of the Peraza Music Workshop, a fabulous Suzuki-and-beyond studio of string players taught by outstanding teacher Marion Peraza de Webb.  It has become a new tradition for the group to offer violin music at the sidelines of the Flying Pig Cincinnati Marathon, to help energize and entertain runners such as Marion, herself.

I wasn’t there last year, the first time the group played there, but I can vividly imagine Marion’s overwhelming joy as she rounded the corner, heard violin music, and looked up to see her very own students cheering her on at 7:00am with the music she herself had taught them.  What a beautiful exchange of gifts!

My son was very disappointed we didn’t go last year (I admit it seemed just a wee bit too early for me on a Sunday morning!), so this year I rose to the occasion and got out of bed bright and early.

I was not expecting the morning to be as moving as it was for me.

I had never witnessed a marathon in person before, and I had no idea what it would feel like.  But, as I stood there, watching a constant mass of thousands of people steadily pass by us for hours, I became swept up into the sheer emotion and meaning of the experience.

Here were thousands of people, all living up to a difficult challenge they had set for themselves, joining together with thousands of others of like mind and intent, overcoming obstacles, supporting one another, and aiming towards a common goal.  The intensity of the wave of energy was so palpable, and the beauty of the spectacle so overwhelming, that all I could do for quite awhile was to stand dumbfounded with a huge smile on my face, pouring out love to all of humanity from the depths of my being.

From time to time, I borrowed a resting student’s violin and I enjoyed merging with the music group as we were led by one of Marion’s excellent teen students, who made sure that the little children were able to keep coming back to play the beginner’s pieces, alternating the easy ones with more challenging ones such as Czardas, by Monti.  When the kids took a short break, I kept playing on my own until they came back.

And the SMILES that the children received from the runners!!  …and the encouraging words and applause and looks of gratitude they gave the children!! …. oh, it was beautiful indeed.  I’m sure not many who were present will forget this meeting.

I could not help but make the comparison to what happens in the orchestral hall during a concert…. audience paying rapt attention as one united body focused upon a goal…. as musicians offer up their deepest selves for the encouragement and entertainment of the masses….  spurring people on to overcome themselves and reach their personal goals…

I can’t help wondering… how is it that such a beautiful exchange goes largely unrecognized by society?  Nearly every person who ran by those children lit up and became lighter on their feet for a moment.  We musicians can do this – and we do – with love for every listener, every day of our lives.

I look forward to next year’s Flying Pig.  (Only maybe next time I’ll experience it from the runner’s perspective…who knows!)

Are you a runner?  A musician?  Both?  Have you ever made music for a runner, or enjoyed music as a runner?  If you run and listen to music as you run, have you ever thought of the connection you have with the musician who played the music you’re listening to?  I love this idea of runners and musicians supporting one another.  What do you think?

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connection, focus, goals, love, music, musicians, orchestral musicians, running

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