Music, musicians soothe frequently weary souls

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Rev. George Lumpkin on Sunday morning announced that afternoon’s Fredericksburg Music Club concert, featuring the Van Cliburn Piano Competition gold medal winner. Lumpkin said someone else had called him a “piano player,” but he jokingly corrected that “pianists” play concerts and “piano players” play in bars. That got a good laugh.

Fredericksburg Music Club President Mark Eckhardt welcomed Yekwon Senwoo on Sunday afternoon back in the same sanctuary. The music club owns the Steinway grand piano that is housed at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church, and they bring in artists that “restoreth my soul,” as the Psalmist wrote.

And, wow. What an amazing concert. That one of the world’s best classical pianists came to Fredericksburg, Texas, is just one part of what makes this tiny ’burg so inviting. The audience sat in packed pews and soaked in his amazing interpretations of masterworks.

Music provides such a release and soul-filling experience, on both the giving and receiving ends. Whether it’s a classical concert, Sammy Geistweidt and friends getting together to play classic country tunes, a church choir, or rock music, there is something primitive about music that stirs our souls and contributes to our well-being.

As an added boost on Sunday, during Senwoo’s concert, we got a little rain shower at the same time. Both the music and the water washed over and cleansed our spirits.

Eckhardt also lamented the passing of local maestro Mark Hierholzer, who had an untimely death last week at age 58. Many locals had experienced lots of those spirit-filling moments listening to Hierholzer at various shows, letting his brilliance soothe us as he performed and/or directed solo and choral pieces.

Hierholzer was on a different musical plain than most of the rest of us. His music was unique, advanced and complex, but rich and relatable. He might have found more appreciation in a larger city with more classical and jazz music fans, but he chose Fredericksburg.

Hierholzer was one of a kind, and this community is sadder since his piano has fallen silent. Rest in peace, maestro. – K.E.C.