Remarks given at the premiere performance of the Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, October 2007; Miami, Florida

In the words of the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, “We are life, we are inextinguishable.” The reasons for living or dying, especially dying, and especially when someone close to us passes, are all too often inscrutable. We look for words, for some idea to hang on to, which allow us to reconcile, or at least live with, loss and grief. But words and concepts fail.

Here in South Florida, everything, even new stuff, is continually being eroded by water and heat. Everything is being eaten, transformed, and taken back into the earth. Things are a bit slower in northern climates, but the process remains the same. It is a sharp reminder that there is no permanence: we come into these bodies undergo continuous transformation, and then for our own not-speakable reasons we release this body, we go on.

Music is deeply and powerfully a part of this process. Music is life: music is inextinguishable. Music loosens our separateness, and allows us to open deeply to one another. Music opens us to the energy of love, which makes out lives possible. Music is the breaker of chains, the smasher of the ordinary, and the breaker of hearts. Music breaks our hearts, and through the broken heart we know compassion.

Today is a celebration of the life of Christine Capote and that of her family, and all who are her friends. Six months ago, Christine withdrew from this life, making it necessary for everyone close to her to find more clearly and fully who they are. Things that were stuck are now open and flowing. While the music for this occasion is a trombone concerto, written for Tim Conner and Gary Green, it is Christine’s gift to us, her way of saying “It’s OK, it’s truly and deeply OK,” and to quote her precisely, “Now get on with your life!”

Thanks for your kind attention. I hope you enjoy the music!