Session 5: “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” – Dan Forrest

“My Country ‘Tis of Thee” – Dan Forrest

What is it about music that draws us into it? That gives us satisfaction as we listen? Music has a way of brilliantly using tension and release through tones and texts that allow us to express ourselves in a way that is unique to the spoken word. In addition to this, music is also unique in its power to bring people together for a common cause and to create something magnificent. Something that has been so sorely missed in the days of a pandemic.

Music as we hear it and perceive it now, however, has been a growing and evolving process through time. There is an obvious and stark difference from music of the renaissance to the music we hear on the modern day radio. Ironically, the same concept of tension and release that draws us to the music we listen to also helped create music as it exists today. Developments and changes with music were often met with controversy. Beethoven’s ninth symphony was poorly received in its beginning and he was criticized for using a chorus in a genre meant for instrumental music. Verdi’s Messa da Requiem received a poor review from someone who called Verdi a “corrupter of Italian artistic taste” (the critic later changed his mind).

I think you may be able to see the metaphor being drawn here: controversy breeds progress. It is uncomfortable, it may seem defeating, but as history suggests, it leads to progress. The greatest strides in our nation from its development were wrapped in controversy: The Revolution, The Civil War, the World Wars, Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights, BLM, etc. Today’s world is also wrapped in controversy.

Today holds one of the most important (and perhaps tense) elections of our lifetime. As we move forward, as the tensions in the tunes of society release, may we find comfort in the lesson history has taught us: tension releases, controversy breeds progress. Our video release today is a musical celebration of our country…the music that swells the breeze and rings from all the trees…while recognizing the path we have taken to form the more perfect union and ultimately, liberty.