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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Why Music Matters

As we look forward to another season of our music, I want to take a little time for reflection on why we spend our evenings making music. In my family, we spend a total of about twelve hours in our music groups each week. Sometimes I wonder about the value of spending our time this way. After all, we’re missing out on all sorts of shared cultural experiences offered on TV.

I gained a different perspective on this question by looking east, to Estonia. The Estonians’ shared musical heritage, which involves almost all the population’s participation in large group singing festivals, was the spark that ignited their bloodless revolution after nearly 50 years of brutal Soviet occupation. The story of how music saved a nation is the subject of a recently released film, The Singing Revolution (

The Singing Revolution became an unstoppable force in September 1988, when 300,000 Estonians, about one quarter of the population, gathered at song a festival to share their musical heritage and openly address their dreams of independence. The rest is history.

For me, this is a reminder that it is in part through our shared culture that we preserve our vital freedom. We nurture our shared culture by participating in community music groups.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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