Life in Har­mony

This won­der­ful yet un­cer­tain jour­ney

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I grew up with three sib­lings. My lit­tle brother, Craig, was only a year and two months younger, so we were al­most like twins, shar­ing a room through high school and do­ing just about ev­ery­thing to­gether. One of our mu­si­cal ri­tu­als as lit­tle kids cen­tered on our par­ents’ LP col­lec­tion. We’d switch on the turntable and “rock” to our (or rather, our par­ents’) fa­vorite songs ―I re­mem­ber taking Ser­gio Men­des and Herb Alpert for fre­quent spins. Even then we were ex­tremely picky about which tracks got played. With our own col­lec­tion of 45s, songs not mak­ing the grade got mer­ci­lessly marked up with pen­cil (the la­bels, grooves or both), which didn’t go over too well with the folks. On the plus side, it did demon­strate the pas­sion be­hind our mu­si­cal tastes. The teenage years brought di­verg­ing mu­si­cal tastes. I took up the pi­ano and be­came ob­sessed with Mozart and Beethoven, while Craig went deep into heavy me­tal and plas­tered our bed­room wall with posters of Ozzy Os­bourne and Def Lep­pard. It was an epic con­fronta­tion, nei­ther of us budg­ing. It was also a re­flec­tion of try­ing to fig­ure out who we are and who we want to be, learn­ing to deal with in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal con­flicts. Our even­tual de­par­tures for col­lege re­solved the sit­u­a­tion, at least tem­po­rar­ily. But it took quite a few years be­fore Craig and I could look back and laugh. It turned out that mu­sic con­tin­ued to play a cen­tral role in our lives, and the teenage mu­si­cal dog­ma­tism we prac­ticed grad­u­ally gave way to ex­pand­ing mu­si­cal bound­aries and an

at­ti­tude of open-mind­ed­ness. Over the years Craig and I grew close again, not only in our re­la­tion­ship as broth­ers, but also in our mu­tual ap­pre­ci­a­tion for mu­sic. Not sur­pris­ingly, the two seemed to go hand in hand. Our most re­cent con­ver­sa­tions al­ways piv­oted to mu­sic. Last year we were talk­ing by phone and tex­ting about how much his beloved dog Molly had en­joyed lis­ten­ing to Celtic Woman’s Des­tiny al­bum. Molly had died re­cently and so Craig was hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time lis­ten­ing to those songs. But he told me which tracks I should check out. So I did … and it cre­ated an­other won­der­ful mu­si­cal bond be­tween us. Our last mu­si­cal con­nec­tion came about from an­other sad event. Our mother had passed away in 2016 and I com­posed an el­egy for vi­o­lin and pi­ano. I played it for Craig, and later he kept telling me he wanted to hear it again. I had just sent him the score so he could play it back in the no­ta­tion pro­gram. It was the last thing we talked about be­fore he died sud­denly. I know that Craig would have agreed that mu­sic is one of the things that makes life worth liv­ing, as it brought him so much joy, some­thing that can bring us all closer to­gether as we un­der­take this won­der­ful yet un­cer­tain jour­ney.

Pi­anist, in­struc­tor and mu­si­col­o­gist Erik En­twistle re­ceived an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in mu­sic from Dart­mouth Col­lege. He earned a post-grad­u­ate de­gree in pi­ano per­for­mance at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in St. Louis. He earned his doc­tor­ate in mu­si­col­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Santa Bar­bara. He teaches on Sani­bel.

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