In the midst of the holiday commercialism, the spiritual core of the season may be found. Music has its spiritual side throughout the year, as Tomoko can testify to. Indeed, music and religion have played an important part of her entire life.
Tomoko recalls, “My mother’s parents were Greek Orthodox, they would say the Hail Mary and so on. Later they became Buddhist, but had to practice their religion underground.” Then she thinks about her husband, “My husband’s country, Hungary, was religious. He also went to a Catholic boy’s high school, which was very traditional. They were very strict: no communion if you weren’t Roman Catholic.”
Tomoko recounts her own early religious experiences. “I remember Billy Graham. When I was 14, he came to the mission school. He had a harp brought along to play Christian songs; it was so impressive. Everyone there could feel religious together.” She continues, In that respect, evangelism is fantastic. Church gives you belief.”
And music gives you soul. “When was I was disappointed in myself, the piano could lift me high,” Tomoko says. To her, “All composers are guardian angels.” She explains, “I feel so much pressure, but I have Chopin. Everyone accepts the soulfulness of his music.” She adds, “Did you know that he composed next door to a monastery? He lived in the area because of his asthma.”
Tomoko relates the spiritual side of other composers. “Listen to Liszt’s compositions. His philosophy is so beautiful. He was a very religious man.” She then goes back in time. “The Bach brother were so strict – even at night they had to copy fugues. They had a monastery type of education, which can be felt in the St.Matthew's Requiem.”
Tomoko concludes, “Everyone needs food, sleep, and emotion.” Music can give you that passion, which has its spiritual and religious side. ‘Tis the season – throughout one’s life.