Elijah Struts with Grandma

Video

Elijah is now 16 — sixteen months, that is — but walking like the boss. He struts, hands behind his back, swaying to the music in his head, waving his arms while making a guest appearance with the Boston Symphony to conduct the debut of his latest composition.

“Grandpa, isn’t life great!” he seems to say. Then he throws out his arms to be picked up and give Grandpa a kiss. “I’m gonna be like Winton Marsalis, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. Grandma says maybe I’m a Mozart or a Benjamin Britton. Mom says J.S. Bach but I say Bach’s too boring, too inside the box. I’m a composer but I’m no Bach, and I’m a conductor, too.

Spike_Jones_1948“I play outside the box, Grandpa, like Spike Jones! Spike was both a composer and a conductor. Maybe I’ll be like Spike, pick up some trash at the park, bring back the City Slickers Band, and take America back to the 1950s! But Spike was weird, and he didn’t move his arms like a real conductor. He just put together some old tin cans and junk and pulled together some honky instruments and band members that made America laugh. I like making people laugh, but I’m no Spike Jones. I want to be Leonard Bernstein.

Grandpa and Grandma will be in Boston next month for a wedding in Boston Symphony Hall. As we witness the exchange of “I do’s”, we’ll imagine Elijah as a City Slicker with a baton in hand, strutting to the stage to conduct the debut of his latest composition with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Grandpa (“Bumpa”) Gordon, August 26, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simplicity

Leonard Bernstein’s “Simple Song” from the Bernstein Mass describes the kind of purity of heart of which Jesus speaks in the Sermon on the Mount. It is a simplicity in accord with Views from the Edge‘s earlier post “America – In Search of Wisdom“: a singleness of heart that refuses double-minded or dualistic thinking and practice. “God is the simplest of all.”

A tenor soloist from the Knox Choir sang it at the 1983 worship service that officially installed me to the office of Senior Minister of Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, which blessed me with its music for 11 years. The song, the soloist, and Knox Church will remain with me always.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 16, 2015.