Celebrations in The Time of Social Distancing

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, a concert from Duomo di Milano yesterday touched the hearts of many.

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It’s hard to deny the power of music. My grandfather introduced me to opera and classical music at a young age. I am not sure if I loved it because I did, or because he did and it meant spending time with him doing something he loved. Regardless, to this day, I will spend hours listening on my own. Andrea Bocelli is a performer whose voice I will never tire of hearing.

Born in 1958, Bocelli was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma at an early age and was rendered blind by the age of 12, because of a football accident. None of this has hindered his success as a musician. He’s sold over 90 million albums worldwide.

Celine Dion has said that “if God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I’m not a Christian, but I was raised to be. If I had to call any organized religion home, it would be the Catholic church. Throughout the world yesterday, people struggled to celebrate Easter differently than they ever had before. With social distancing protocols in place, gathering in large groups was a no-no.

Some congregations still tried, I’m sure.

With technology as it is, many churches have been opting for streaming services over the past few weeks. However, Easter service is special. Most places have a sunrise service, held outdoors. I would expect that poses difficulties of its own.

Duomo di Milano, or the Milan Cathedral, held a special concert yesterday featuring Andrea Bocelli, performing only with cathedral organist, Emmanuelle Vianelli because of the coronavirus protocols.

Bocelli spoke only in the beginning of the concert stating, “On the day we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honoured and happy to answer ‘si,’ Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart.”

He performed “Panis Angelicus,” “Ave Maria,” “Sancta Maria” and “Domine Deus” without comment. In the silence between the songs, even the slightest sound echoed in the cavernous cathedral, the largest in Italy.

Andrea Bocelli: Music For Hope-Live From Duomo Di Milano

The concert is less than 25 minutes and well worth watching. I invite you to listen while you read.

There are points of note throughout the show. At the 5:19 mark, the camera pans outside with the sun shining bright, offering an image of hope, just as Ave Maria begins at the 5:38 mark.

It’s a powerful message you feel in your bones.

Though the music itself is spiritual, don’t let that stop you from taking away a deeper message. Hope is a powerful thing, regardless of your personal beliefs. Music touches us in ways hard to explain. When we hear certain songs, they can take us back to a time when things were easier, remind us of moments in the sun.

Bocelli walked from the doorway into the cathedral square to a single microphone to perform his stunning finale, “Amazing Grace” performed a cappella at the 18:38 mark. As his voice echoed through the empty square, the camera pulled back to show the white facade in all its glory.

The organ started as the camera showed shots of empty sidewalks and streets around famed global locations such as the Eiffel Tower, London’s Trafalgar Square and New York’s Times Square. It was eerie to see these normally bustling cities laid bare.

But the camera came back to Bocelli singing the final line, “Was blind, but now I see.” I won’t lie, I was full-on crying at this point and had chills.

This is the power of hope. This is the power of music. In this moment, I knew, no matter what our world is dealing with, we can get through it. We will come out the other side, changed yes, but maybe better for it all.

I think, therefore, I write. ccuthbertauthor@gmail.com /Posts may contain affiliate links.

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