Music and the Spoken Word

Good Music and Good Company - Sunday, September 18, 2016

More than 50 years ago, three women from Pennsylvania, two sisters and a friend, attended a performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony for the first time. Now, a half century later, they have attended nearly 600 performances. None of these women is especially wealthy—they were teachers and homemakers by occupation. But they were committed to music and the arts, so they made attending the symphony a tradition. Now in their 80s, they still cherish their evenings together enjoying good music and good company.1

Perhaps you have experienced what these three women discovered: something powerful happens when good music combines with good company. “Shared musical preferences can create and strengthen bonds,” says a researcher who studies the philosophy of music.2 The same could surely be said of shared musical experiences. Somehow, the effect of the music seems more powerful, more moving, when we see that it moves a loved one as well. And somehow, relationships seem deeper when they are enriched with beautiful music.

Some couples speak tenderly about “their song”—a piece of music that means something special to both of them. And how many lifelong friendships are forged by people who perform together in a choir or orchestra? Music has a way of attaching itself to cherished memories, relationships, and emotions. When we hear the music again—even many years later—those memories return, and it feels as if they have never left.

Of course, even if the music doesn’t change over time, we do. After 600 performances, the elderly trio in Pittsburgh has heard a few songs more than once. But even in familiar melodies they often hear something they’ve never heard before. Sometimes the music recalls a special memory with a loved one. Sometimes it helps them forget their problems for a little while and find the strength to carry on. Always it brings them together.

That’s how good music and good company can form deep bonds and memories that bring harmony and happiness to our lives. So take time to listen to good music—and when you do, bring a friend with you.
-Lloyd D. Newell

1. See Clare Ansberry, “Bonds Deepened by 50 Years of Music,” Wall Street Journal, Apr. 13, 2016,
2. Jeanette Bicknell, in Ansberry, “Bonds Deepened.”

September 18, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,540

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Bells on Temple Square

Ryan Murphy

Bells Conductor
LeAnna Willmore

Linda Margetts

Lloyd Newell

The Last Words of David
Randall Thompson

Sing Praise to God
Paul Laubengayer

Lead, Kindly Light
John B. Dykes; arr. Mack Wilberg

Campanae Celebrare
Cathy Moklebust

The Sound of Music, from The Sound of Music
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
Albert L. Peace; arr. Ryan Murphy