THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF MANKIND

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Last Saturday evening, the residents of Walton Oaks in Augusta strolled down to the Community Room on a beautiful spring evening for a rare treat — a free concert by the Vega String Quartet from Emory University. Folks began arriving early, wanting to make sure they could get a good seat. Some of them had already heard about this group from the children in the community — the quartet had done a workshop for the children in the Adventure Center a few days before. One mom said, "They had the kids mesmerized. The workshop was very interactive, and they patiently answered a thousand questions from the children."

As the folks began to settle in, the group came out to perform. Three of the members had travelled to the United States from China many years ago and one was from Italy. As they began to play, the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came to mind: "Music is the universal language of mankind." It is truly a language that all of us can understand. But this group did more than just play the music, beautiful though it was. Before each piece, they took the time to explain the story surrounding the piece, thus bringing it to life for the audience. As they played, the listeners heard the story and the feeling behind it — the exuberance, the sadness, the pain, the triumph, and all around the room gasps could be heard, followed by enthusiastic applause when it was done.

There is power in music. It moves us. It brings us together and it sets us apart. It connects us to a feeling, a mood or a memory. It conveys feelings that mere words may not. It is the soundtrack of our lives. Many thanks to the Vega String Quartet for helping to make that real to those of us fortunate enough to listen.

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