While I am very sad that I could not drive to Ithaca today to partake in the vigil for the pianos, I was able to recruit my friend Luke Elmers to take some video of the event. Below are some exclusive clips. There are more to be found on the vigil’s Facebook event page.
In the first clip, you can hear some of “Don’t Stop Believing,” unrehearsed, but of course with beautiful harmonies in the crisp Ithaca night. You can’t quite hear the speaking afterward, but I included the full clip because Luke got some good coverage of how many people were in attendance:
The second clip features two student speakers you can hear quite nicely (transcripts below):
The first speaker is Zach Klein, a senior composition major:
…This is a pretty awful thing to happen. I mean, I think, symbolically, even though the pianos are fine and only some of them are really damaged to the point where we can’t play them… it definitely hurt here, because it was like you’re killing art. You’re like destroying what I love the most, and what I know a lot of you love the most. And you know, I did think about this holiday [Hanukkah], obviously, and I thought about why the holiday exists, and the idea that after the temple was destroyed, it was rededicated. And to celebrate that, they relit lights. And in a sense, through the work of these amazing amazing faculty, we have rededicated our temple of music in a sense. And by shining these lights, we’re showing that, you know—the good we can get out of this is that instead of moping and groaning about how, “Oh, it’s going to be so much harder to practice for juries now,” we’re coming together and being like “Yeah, yo, whatever, screw those people who did this. We love music,” and you know, they can’t destroy that.
The second speaker is Chris LaRosa, a sophomore composition major:
When something this devastating happens, I think it’s important for us to question why we do what we do. Why do we write music? Why do we play music? Why do we appreciate music? We do all of these things in the pursuit of enlightenment. We do them in an attempt create beauty and meaning where there was none before. We do these things to express that which cannot be said in words alone. We do them to worship the innate goodness of man’s soul. But we do not try to inspire hatred through our music.
Now what happened in the last 24 hours was a tragedy, and someone was responsible for this, and they intended to extinguish our illumination. But it’s important for us to not let them do that. Don’t allow this person to divert you. Don’t allow them to provoke hatred or disillusionment in your heart, and compromise your musical convictions.
The person responsible for this has committed an inconceivable and nearly unforgivable act. To mar the facilities of music is an act of true irreverence of the art. I hope this person understands what they have done, the magnitude of their impertinent actions, and I pray that they take responsibility for what they have done. But this person has only temporarily taken our instruments away from us, and I pray that you remember that they can’t take our music away from us and they can’t take our voices away from us. And so, let us be heard tonight. Let us sing.
In the third clip, first-year performance major Sam Thurston plays Taps for the fallen instruments:
In this fourth clip, Luke talks with senior clarinet performance major, Erik Johnson, who helped organize the vigil along with junior, Vanessa Calaban. Johnson discusses reactions to the news of the vandalism, the organization of the vigil, and the support from other schools of music:
In this last clip, Luke heads down to the practice rooms hallway of Whalen and talks to two clarinetists about their reactions to the vandalism. In the background you can hear the sounds of students back to practicing as they prepare for juries and finals. Featured in the clip are Brittany Gunther (first-year Music Education major) and Samantha Underwood (sophomore Music Education major):
I have to extend my deepest gratitude to Luke for heading out into the cold to record these clips. Thanks also to the amazing resilience of all the current Ithaca College students during this stressful time. I won’t speak for others, but you sure make me proud to be an alum of the School of Music. Ithaca Forever!