My wife and I went on a double date with some friends to see a chamber concert at La Sierra University. As an artist, one of my favorite things to do is go to concerts and draw the performers. However, when we got to the campus concert hall, much to our surprise, the building was mostly unoccupied with few lights on. It soon became clear that I had the wrong date in my calendar. Yet as a man of faith, I prayed, "God, I don't know what is going on here, but please, make tonight's concert still happen."
|The Most Wonderful Impromptu Concert is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta, available as an NFT on OpenSea.|
Shortly thereafter, I discovered a mysterious young man sitting quietly in the otherwise empty lobby. His name was Rafael. I asked him if he played any instruments. He said confidently that he did. Then I asked him if he would do a solo concert for us--on the spot. In fact, I asked him if he could play 45 minutes of material for us. He said he didn't think he knew 45 minutes of material that was concert-ready.
As soon as he said that, I concluded that he was a humble man and therefore anything he performed would be genuine and inspiring. So I countered, "How about 30 minutes?" When Rafael said nothing, I rephrased, "How about 15 minutes? Just give me what you've got... please. I am sure it will be fantastic!"
"I can do that, yes," Rafael replied in an almost bewildered tone. Was he bewildered that I would ask him for a concert without ever hearing him play, or was he surprised that he was cooperating with a complete stranger? Perhaps it was both.
A new twist occurred, however. He remembered that he did not have much time as he was going to dinner with a friend and that she was just finishing practicing a song somewhere else in the building. So I asked if both of them would do a concert for us right then and there. He left to go ask his friend, and about 5 minutes later, they graciously invited us into the concert hall for the most delightful musical experience ever!
Rafael Braga and Isabel Pulido, both undergraduate students in La Sierra's music department, performed an unforgettable and heart-moving concert loaded with 6 songs plus endless inspiration for all.
Here is the list of what they boldly and passionately played with all professionalism and power:
1 - J.S Bach Prelude in g minor - BWV 558
2 - L. v. Beethoven Piano sonata Op. 13 "Pathétique" - 2nd and 3rd movements
3 - J.S Bach Gavotte en Rondeau and Gigue from the Partita no. 3 for violin solo
4 - J.S Bach Sarabande from the Partita no. 2 for violin solo
5 - J. Brahms concerto in D major for violin - 1st movement
6 - J. Haydn violin concerto in C major - 2nd movement
At the end of this spectacular evening, our tiny front row of 4 concert-goers were compelled to thank Rafael, Isabel, and God with the utmost sincerity, joy, and astonishment. Such kindness, giving spirit, flexibility, and desire for excellence (regardless of size of the audience) speaks volumes. Indeed, our gratitude resounds.