David Stern and David Newby, Director of the Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra
It snowed in Tehachapi over the weekend. So the drive through the high-desert was especially beautiful, with the wide-open blue skies coming down to meet the snow-capped Tehachapi mountains. Although I grew up in the area, I had never visited Tehachapi. It’s home to some 12,500 people and also to the Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra which was founded in 1998 and is directed by David Newby.
The symphony holds an annual “Composition Competition” that results in the World Premiere of a new work of music. This year’s winner – MSIA Minister David Stern.
In addition to Zanya, the local minister who had tipped off David Stern that the contest was taking place, several other ministers made the two-hour drive from Los Angeles to see the world premiere of David’s creation.
The Golden Thread opened the program and was followed by Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. In his introduction, David said, “being a composer and having your work debuted next to works by Mozart and Beethoven is kind of like being a painter and being told that your painting will hang next to the Mona Lisa.” We all laughed.
And then we listened. To me, the piece held its own and was aptly titled, bringing a palpable experience of spirit to the audience.
In his introduction, David also talked about the importance of spiritual connection in his creative work. “The Golden Thread,” he said, “refers to the connection between the Soul and the Heart of God.”
As we listened to the Golden Thread we received the gift of the music that David had prepared for us. The immediacy of the experience struck me. Aside from the practice session, this was the first moment that this piece was being heard in the world. This was its world premiere. I wondered what it was like to be present at the debut of Mozart’s Requiem. What would it have been like to be one of the first on the planet to hear that music? And I thought it might be similar to being in the room with John-Roger and receiving of the energy that he brought forward.
I was moved with the music. With the rising and falling of the sounds. With the moments of silence. We approached the Golden Thread. We played the Golden Thread. And we listened to the sound – a musical reminder of the heaven from which we came.
In the pause after the music, I experienced peace and was reminded of what David shared about the capacity of music to bring a group of people into greater harmony with each other.
And then came the applause. A standing ovation for David Stern!
Here’s a video of the performance taken by the father of the Tehachapi Symphony’s Harpist: