Last week, I attended a small concert at my mother’s assisted living facility. Pasquale Esposito, who I admit I had never heard of, generously performed for free along with his keyboard player and a backup of recorded musical arrangements.
The concert was phenomenal. Pasquale, a handsome Italian tenor (with very cool shoes), had the large group of seniors, their family and friends, and the staff clapping and singing. His voice is absolutely beautiful, and that, combined with his sense of humor and his interaction with the audience, made for a memorable afternoon.
It will be especially memorable for me since it was a special time I spent with my mother. She’s the one who taught me to appreciate all things artistic. Whether it was books, singing, music, paintings or theater, she brought her love of art into our family’s life, including the beautiful art she herself created.
Unfortunately, she hasn’t painted for quite a few years, but I have some of her gorgeous, striking and joyful watercolors in my home, which I’m proud to show visitors, and which I’ll cherish forever.
Viewing art, reading books, seeing movies or plays can be an emotional experience. Depending on the subject matter, these things can resonate with me, pull feelings out of me, make me think and contemplate life in general and my own life as well.
Make me feel, yes. But cry during a movie or reading a book? Not me. Rarely, anyway.
You will, however, see tears in my eyes when I’m listening to certain music. It can be rock, opera, songs with or without lyrics. I don’t know when a song will pull at my guts and bring on the tears. I don’t know if it’s because I happen to be in a certain mood, or if it’s the music itself, or a combination of both. But music, certain music, fills me with emotion.
And this is what happened that day last week during Pasquale’s performance. I sat next to my mother, my aging parent who isn’t the same person I knew just a few years ago. Now, she doesn’t have the energy and, thus, the desire to do much of anything. But while Pasquale sang, I saw her face engrossed in his music. I watched her clap and sing along with a familiar song. I snapped pictures of her so I could remember this moment later, when her energy level will have declined even more.
And I tried my hardest not to let my tears fall. It was the music. It was his voice. It was my mother’s face and her enjoyment. And it was the inspiration I felt to see Pasquale’s passion, his real love of singing and love of sharing it with his small audience—he who can charge high ticket prices and fill large venues.
Though her short term memory is fading, she remembers him and his music, and it’s a magical moment that she and I continue to talk about. That’s the power of art, of passion, of Pasquale’s beautiful voice and his big heart.