That was my thought last Tuesday night after sitting through what was one of the most musically gratifying things I’ve been to in my entire life, which ended up being the set up for one of the most powerful events I’ve ever been to as a member of Phi Mu Alpha.
Having attended conventions, convocations, and conferences since 2007, I’d certainly heard Brian Stratton sing before. But not like this.
At the recital, which was a gathering of the faculty for a music preconference that had never been attempted before, Godfather stood up and sang a spiritual arranged by Moses Hogan. What happened next will stay with me for I think as long as I live – a song so powerful, moving, and emotional that no one dared breathe, let alone applaud, after it was over. The fact that he followed up with an aria from Strauss was near icing on the cake.
Over the past week, I was exposed to a side of the brothers I’ve come to know and love so closely I had never experienced before: the side of them that makes music at a high level. Men who I knew had the talent and passion to produce such powerful feelings, but had never experienced firsthand, proceeded to change the way I feel not only about them as individuals, but as a fraternity at whole.
After the concert, the rest of the week was devoted towards building up man in this fraternity as leaders and brothers. Sessions were had, discussions were had, concert forgiven, and information was shared. You’ll have to read someone else’s recap of the event in order to go in depth as to what was at each session, because that isn’t what I’ll remember. What I will remember it is the deep connection I made with brothers from across the country, even those I had known for years before, through the power of music.
I will remember staying up way too early in the morning having conversations with brothers about things ranging from classical music, to hip-hop, to everything in between. I will remember experiencing music so invigorating that I just physically could not sleep. I’ll remember the connections I made with brothers through music and with music.
This event won’t go down in my memory books for any restaurant we ate at, any speaker we went to (though all of them were fantastic), or any presentation we attended. It will be marked by the conversations I had, the music I experienced, and the bonds that were forged with brothers both new and old.
When Brian sang, he shared with us a part of his soul that I had never seen before. When Nothin’ Fancy performed, a joy filled the room that could not have been passed around just by being in attendance. When Rolland Shaw taught us how to sing, we learned more than we could’ve done in entire semesters. Music was the vehicle that allowed them all to express things that could not possibly have been communicated with words alone.
To those who I shared this experience with, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those that helped coordinate this wonderful event, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those of you who taught me more than I ever expected to learn, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Brothers, don’t be afraid of the power of music. It may be the only thing that allows you to communicate what you truly want to with those who you really care about.