A Brief Response to Las Vegas

By Stephen Marshall-Ward

There is so much pain in the world right now.

It’s  hard to watch the news lately because it is so troubling.  Every time I turn on the news for the last few days all I hear is a machine gun firing.  Over and over and over again.  I screamed out last night when the news came on and they ran that tape again from Las Vegas where you hear gunfire and people screaming – I just screamed out, “I can’t take hearing that anymore!”.  I can’t imagine living through that situation and how horrific it is for the people who have experienced it.  It’s hard enough for me to watch it, I can’t imagine living through it.  Feeling the pain and the turmoil experienced by the people there, I sat there in my bed and cried.  I felt so badly for them when I realized how their lives would never be the same again… if they were fortunate enough to live through it.

At such moments, I’m pulled back to what in my life gives me the greatest solace.  I think it is music, specifically singing.  Which is why I find so much good when people get together to sing.

Our culture needs more healing music.

We need music that makes a difference in our culture, how we think about and see each other, and how we think about ourselves.  That is why I am very excited about the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium’s biennial Choral Festival, October 12-14 at First Baptist Church in Seattle.  Over 30 greater-Seattle choirs will come together to share music over a three-day festival where the public can come in and just listen.  It reminds me of what joy I get personally from bringing people together to make music through singing.   It’s a great gift -- individually and culturally.  And, especially now, I am glad to be part of an experience that feeds our souls.