Some time ago I lost one page of a piece of music.
I had two pages of it, but couldn’t find the third one, nor could I find the book it had come from. Most likely I had loaned the book to a nephew, but for whatever reason, it was gone.
I looked everywhere for it. Called a friend for help, and went through everything again, but no luck. And a wedding was coming up. If only I could find “A Tune for a Trumpet!”
The publisher said the book was out-of-print. Music stores and hard-to-find music websites were no help. Contact with a grand cathedral where Gilbert M. Martin once played the now-missing piece produced nothing.
One morning I chased about 150 possibilities; soon, contacts began referring me to places I had already been. You may call me stubborn; (I prefer tenacious!) But finally, I gave up.
Weeks later I got up early to send a data hug off to an ill friend. There were several notes in my inbox — so I began replying with a hasty “Good morning!”
I knew all the senders but Gil, and aimed for the delete key. But as I did, my eye caught the word ‘music’ in the subject line, and for a fraction of a second I paused. Gradually the light dawned. It was an e-mail, not from Gilbert M. Martin, but from ‘Gil’ — a personal note from the still-living composer, and it was addressed to me! I was beside myself with delight!
Hastily the note was perused, and therein was an offer of a copy of the missing music. In a crescendo of smiles I replied thankfully, and offered to reimburse him.
Of course! Composers are musicians whose supreme desire is for others to enjoy their music. As a great choral and organ artist and editor, Gilbert Martin’s whole purpose is to inspire and uplift.
Silly me. I had looked everywhere for a song, instead of going straight to the source. After all, music isn’t really the issue. If I knew the composer, I could have all the melodies I needed!
I haven’t met composer Gilbert M. Martin — not yet. Initially, I was looking for his music, not him. But then the relationship changed. The next time I play “A Tune for a Trumpet” it will be different – it will be personal, even to me.
The envelope finally arrived from Sacred Music Press in Dayton, Ohio — right where I used to live! Mr. Martin was no stranger! I’d walked past his place hundreds of times — might have even purchased the original music there! Though I really didn’t know what I was looking for then.
But when the music slid out of the envelope, there was something blue spilled all over the front of it. I was dismayed, until I noticed the marks were just a giant, scrawling autograph. Life can look that way at times — a mess. A big scrawling mess. It may look like a disaster — but it might only be the composer at work.
But next time, if I lose my song, my melody, I promise it won’t take me so long to run to the composer. Because maybe that’s what He wanted all along.
Rita Corbett is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.