Friday, June 30, 2006

Is It Possible for an Agnostic to have a Religious Experience?

The best stop on Kevin's Walking Tour of Chicago--and probably the most moving moment of the weekend--happened when we went to the Chicago Cultural Center. A rather plain exterior didn't betray the lovely interior, and as we ascended a gorgeous marble staircase with gold trim, suddenly classical music filled the air. Not recorded music, but live orchestral melody, seemingly out of nowhere. It was like a personal soundtrack to accentuate the beauty of the building. In an instant, I was deeply moved by pure sound and light, no words. I wanted to cry. I turned to Kevin, my eyes wide. "I feel like we just walked into the sequel to Angels in America!" I said. He laughed and we continued up the stairs.

As we reached a landing halfway to the next floor, we looked up into an archway that framed a huge room, domed by an ornate stained-glass ceiling. Beneath it, the Chicago Youth Symphony practiced bits of The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. As it was a rehearsal rather than a formal performance, parents darted about, snapping photos of their kids. The music came in waves, unexpected, never knowing how long each would last.

The informality of the scene allowed me to move about the room and snap my own photos. I only took a few, as I kept wanting to just look and listen. It was one of those moment in my life I will never forget. Thanks again, Kevin.


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