As I shared once in a past post, we sometimes play table-tennis and enjoy a cup of tea at a community session held in a local Methodist church. Over the last two years we have developed several friendships (though with sadly little improvement in table-tennis skills). This week we played a couple of games to our usual standard (!) and retreated to the kitchen hatch to order our teas and a dairy-free bun. In front of us a man with a guitar slung round his shoulders was also ordering tea and cake. Carol, as is her wont, started talking with him and asked him what he played. 'Oh, classical' he answered. 'It would be wonderful if you could play for us!' she cheekily asked. 'OK', he replied, 'where shall I sit?' 'Sit with Michael and me' she invited.
As he unpacked his guitar we learned that his name is Tom and playing the guitar is his profession. To the amazement of all, but especially us sitting so close, he began playing some Bach, followed by yet more Bach - 'Jesu joy of man's desiring'. The classical guitar makes such delicate sounds as each plucked string enriches gorgeous harmony. The beauty held us captive, with neighboring tables joining in. Here was an expert musician so generously sharing his skills with us. I asked him about his repertoire. He mentioned many of the greats and the joys of transcribing their music for the guitar. Recently, he said he had grown fond of Chopin. Then he began to play a piece that I last heard my father play on our family piano decades ago. So evocative!
Soon he left to play at a concert elsewhere in the village. 'You know so much of this music began in the church', he said. 'It's wonderful to be able to bring it back in'. Surprises by definition are unexpected. Tom's visit and willingness to give, just like that - expressing the beauty and power of music - stand out as a highlight this week. Oh, I like surprises like this!