08 May 2017

Alleluia! A Celebration of both the American Spirit and the Spirit of Easter

I was fortunate enough to reconnect with an old friend from High School the day before yesterday. It was one of those serendipity experiences which surprise and delight with their richness and promise. Beyond the initial contact she and I have talked via email a little about poetry and spirituality and some of the things we each are involved in today. We were not good friends in High School and are discovering just how much we now have in common. It is an amazing gift I think, and I am feeling grateful to the God who draws broken and separated threads together weaving them into an unimaginable future and Kingdom in which nothing and no one will ever be lost.

In the course of our emails Kathie recommended and sent me the link to a wonderful video of a choral version of Finlandia; I had never heard such a version. That link led me to another one featuring the same violinist playing the quintessentially American music of Aaron Copeland. In this arrangement Jenny Oaks Baker, a classically trained violinist plays fiddle as well (ironically, something I have also done); with those terrific fiddlers accompanying  her she manages to create a celebratory performance of sheer joy. It seems to me to capture the spirit of Easter without any overt religious "language" or imagery. This music cries out "Alleluia, Life wins out over death!" at every turn.

Postscript: Here is another version Jenny Oaks Baker has done with her four children, "Family Four". In the fiddling community it is not uncommon for the whole family to play together often learning several instruments to make this possible, and in some Mormon families this is true. Jenny Oaks Baker and Family Four combines both traditions: