It was over: David Robertson, the conductor, bowed his head and cradled the baton in his other hand; the musicians and their instruments sat motionless; the chorus and children’s choir closed their music books; the pre-recorded street sounds from Manhattan faded into silence. For twenty-nine minutes we had breathed John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls (2002) the “memory space” that he created to honor the victims of 9/11 and all who have had significant losses.

An uneasy silence stunned Powell Symphony Hall. Someone coughed. Others stirred in their seats. Still others swiped their eyes and wadded Kleenex in their hands or studied their laps. Finally someone began to clap; it did not stop until everyone stood. Cheers solidified our humanness, tweaked by significant losses, past and present.

Indeed, such classical music knows no boundaries. It seeps into the marrow of our souls leaving a residue of hope: hope that enlivens our spiritual faculties and quickens our steps. The apparent ending of On the Transmigration of Souls was just the beginning. Indeed, life is good as proclaimed by the Creator in the book of Genesis.

Happy Thanksgiving!