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"There Are No Words"
When words fail, music finds a way to communicate.

by Holly Mulcahy
March 2, 2009

A day before President Obama's inauguration, the writers at Inside The Arts published "Dear President letters" from their unique perspective. Most of the letters were generally to do with the arts and how each writer wanted the next administration to handle the arts during the next four years. My letter was geared toward pointing out the necessary ways which classical music fills our lives during times of shared experiences.

As I watched the inauguration, I found it particularly interesting that there were points where just about every reporter or newscaster would say, "There are no words to describe this historical event." And then one of the military bands would play, or later, the piece written by John Williams especially for the inauguration. In fact, the reporters were right; there were no words to describe any of the emotion and feeling during that day. Instead, as if by instinct, we let the music do the "talking" and that summed up the experience better than any pundit could possibly express.  

Here is my letter to the president:

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

Chances are you are greeted to your new job with numerous organizations and individuals with their hand out asking for help during our current crisis. Symphony orchestras throughout our country are probably no different; however, I wanted to point out that musicians in these orchestras are sometimes the first groups of people to offer assistance during times of crisis by providing music to mourn with, music to encourage, and music to support and heal the masses.

Musicians, without missing a beat (so to speak) are usually the first who form fundraising concerts quickly for those that are in need. Whether it was a fireman's family after 9/11, or an AIDs benefit concert symphony orchestras musicians are always at the core of efforts to center the nation in times of crisis.

So on your inauguration day, know that musicians are among those reaching out our hands, but not for a handout or bailout. Instead, we want to offer our hands to help support and encourage your administration during these troubled times. We want you to know we are here for the good of the nation and ready to heal, mourn, excite, celebrate, and everything in between. Your country's symphony orchestras are waiting, with hands out to help.

Holly Mulcahy

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