11 Nov 2011 The Thread of Life
As part of the donors’ breakfast held before the music building dedication, Chris Ramos presented his thoughts from the student perspective. We know you will appreciate the beauty of his speech and the insight it provides regarding the depth of gratitude our students feel toward the generosity alumni like you provide.
I would like to begin this morning by asking you to reach up, touch your neck, and feel your pulse with me. Rhythm.
Now, look at the person sitting beside you, and if you feel so inclined, encourage him or her with a smile. Harmony.
Now close your eyes, and reflect on your past. Feel the music of times gone by. Dissonance, joy, humor, peace, stridence, confusion, release, exuberance, hope, all marching along to the seemingly eternal metronome of time.
Why do we study music? The Greeks believed that mousikos was that force that held the universe together. They studied the starry heavens, observing the perfect harmony with which the spheres moved about the night sky. They reflected upon the soul, observing the depth of existence, feeling the rhythm of the body, moving to the harmony, or possibly dissonance, of those around them. Everywhere they looked they saw a thread weaving through the cosmos, binding each and every thing in concert. We sing with our voices and instruments in attempt to interpret the vibrating thread we call life. This is why we study music.
I know I speak for the entire music department when I say that our new facility is special. Already, some amazing music has sounded in our halls and studios, and I wait in eager anticipation to hear what will sound in them in the future. What a privilege it is to experience such legendary figures as Mussorgsky, Liszt, Brahms, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, Strauss, Schumann, Gershwin, Maslanka, Ellington, and countless others in a marvelously aesthetic and acoustically sound hall such as Finney Concert Hall, right here in Commerce, Texas. And not only what a privilege, but what a statement we have made, that great music played by great musicians deserves a great environment in which to be experienced, and that such a space need not be limited to large cities, but rather be formed wherever it is needed. What a statement we have made, that Commerce, Texas is home to a school of musicians, working to better understand the world around them, that they might impart what little knowledge they have to others, that slowly, one piece of music at a time, somebody becomes a fuller human being.
We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and support in helping us to study with ardor, and to create with passion. You have helped start a new chapter in the rich musical legacy of our university, one that will continue for years to come. One day our brand new walls will whisper with the memories of times gone by, painted with the music we have played within them. What a day in the future that will be, when a student will stop and listen to the rich tradition of the building in which he stands, feeling fully the life-thread within him, connecting him to us imprinted in the past, to those around him in his present, and to those destined of the future. What a day it is today, feeling the vibrating life-thread within us, to know that we are connected with each other, and with the future of our building. Every day I pray for God’s blessing upon the building and the musicians who walk through its halls; may it be His will to help us to understand what it means to be human by His gift of this building through you, our supporters, patrons of music, advocates of understanding.
Chris Ramos, Class of 2013