Jul 02 , 2019

MUSIC IS ALIVE IN VAN WERT: The Freedom Of Negative Harmony

The Freedom of Negative Harmony
By Tafi Stober

What does Pink Floyd, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Pitbull, Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley, Nicki Minaj, Neil Diamond and Wham all have in common? They all sing songs about FREEDOM. The word itself is a state of being and as individualized as the mind of the one who defines it. In our current culture, freedoms are more shackled by mental barriers than physical ones. Of this, one should be grateful and also mindful. Some artists in oppressive states, pen anthems of bitterness and resentment while others celebrate freedom with an overcoming message. When looking through the artists noted, one can probably begin categorizing the intent of these artist's freedom song. Such songs create unity around a common theme and share a message of awareness. Of the tools and weapons used as an act of gaining or expressing freedom, music is revered as a valuable tool of least aggression. In society shall we promote its use and have less judgement of the style of song and more credit to the healthy form of expressed freedom.

America united around Independence Day for the first time in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777. On a side note, even at the height of patriotic unity, there was dissension. Did you know that John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence unlike his political rival Thomas Jefferson. Adams reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. In an interesting twist of fate, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps much to their dismay, they were united in death. Doth seem a pity that a lifetime of striving for Independence together would only produce offenses that separated. But then again, isn't this the great challenge of today. Society celebrates on special patriotic days that unite then go about in the interim focusing upon what divides. So how does a country, whose very core is built upon the cavalier approaches of independent thinking come together for a day of celebration when our definition of freedom is so very different?

Gratitude. A heart of gratitude is a united attitude. One cannot celebrate independence without understanding and embracing, with gratitude, that discord and friction are incubators for creative thinking. In music, negative harmonies create transitions of interest. If music models life, it seems a lesson in civility can be gained from that principle.

This Friday, July 5 at 7:00 P,  the Lima Symphony Pops Orchestra will entertain from the Niswonger Performing Arts Center stage featuring songs of patriotism. Unlike Jefferson and Adams, may independence be celebrated with a sense of gratitude for the differences that keep us balanced in a way that may not always be in harmony but still an important part of the song.

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