The hymn I missed

Because yesterday was PIONEER DAY, I was sure we’d sing one of my favorite hymns. But it didn’t happen (even though Sacrament meeting was WONDERFUL). I used to sing this hymn – or just read the words – quite often when I was serving as a missionary. It seemed like the words were for ALL of us, not just for those from many years ago whom we call “The Pioneers.” I’m convinced each of us has a chance (or we’ve had a chance) to be “first” – to go ahead and prepare a way for others. And the words of this particular hymn are so beautiful … I feel sad that we (usually) only sing it once a year. So I especially missed the chance yesterday and decided to share it today.



(As you read the words, think of how much they apply to us in the invitation we’ve been given to be examples, to be missionaries, to be Good Samaritans . . . to be PIONEERS…)


They the builders of the nation, Blazing trails along the way;

Stepping stones for generations Were their deeds of ev’ry day.

Building new and firm foundations, Pushing on the wild frontier,

Forging onward, ever onward, Blessed, honored Pioneer!

Service ever was their watch cry; Love became their guiding star;

Courage, their unfailing beacon, Radiating near and far.

Ev’ry day some burden lifted, Ev’ry day some heart to cheer,

Ev’ry day some hope the brighter, Blessed, honored Pioneer!

As an ensign to the nation, They unfurled the flag of truth,.

Pillar, guide, and inspiration To the hosts of waiting youth.

Honor, praise, and veneration To the founder we revere!

List our song of adoration, Blessed, honored Pioneer!



HYMN # 197

This morning I’m sharing a hymn which I’m pretty sure I’ve never sung in any meeting. My friend Leanne pointed it out to me quite a while ago, and I love it so much!! Many of you may already be familiar with it. On the internet I found a link with a group of men singing it (with a short message before by a young woman). I’ve posted it so that you can hear the tune (in case you don’t already know it). The message is powerful, beautiful, and thought-provoking.  Enjoy!



  1. O Savior, thou who wearest A crown of piercing thorn,

The pain thou meekly bearest,   Weigh’d down by grief and scorn.

The soldiers mock and flail thee;   For drink they give thee gall;

Upon the cross they nail thee   To die, O King of all.

  1. No creature is so lowly, No sinner so depraved,

But feels thy presence holy   And thru thy love is saved.

Tho craven friends betray thee,   They feel thy love’s embrace;

The very foes who slay thee   Have access to thy grace.

  1. Thy sacrifice transcended The mortal law’s demand;

Thy mercy is extended   To ev’ry time and land.

No more can Satan harm us,   Tho long the fight may be,

Nor fear of death alarm us;  We live, O Lord, thru thee.

  1. What praises can we offer To thank thee, Lord most high?

In our place thou didst suffer;   In our place thou didst die,

By heaven’s plan appointed,   To ransom us, our King.

O Jesus, the anointed,   To thee our love we bring!


Text: Karen Lynn Davidson, b. 1943. (c) 1985 IRI

Music: Hans Leo Hassler, 1564-1612; adapted by J. S. Bach, 1685-1750

(So you’ll know how the tune goes; you’ll recognize it – A little introduction first)




Some of you may remember the post and comments a while ago about LDS composer Rob Gardner and the song (I call it a hymn) he wrote called “You Have Nothing to Fear.” Well, if you haven’t seen THIS yet, TAKE A LOOK AND A LISTEN!!!



MIMI found the MUSIC!

I shared the words to this hymn in a previous blog but couldn’t find the music. MIMI FOUND IT!  In case you can’t find the words, I’ll share them again. Thanks SO much, Mimi, for your SSS: Successful Search and Sharing!  ENJOY!

Mimi’s note:  I was able to find the sheet music for it:




You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your way may be burdened by thorns.
For the Lord will be with you each step of the way
As you travel with faith through the storm.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your trials,
Though they seem far too heavy to bear.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.

You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your body is tired and worn.
For the Lord will send angels to lift up your arms
And He’ll carry the burden you’ve born.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your suff’ring,
Nor the grief you’ve been called on to bear,
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.

There is nothing to fear from the nights that are lonely,
There’s nothing to fear from the cold!
There’s nothing to fear from what might be tomorrow,
For heaven is with you,
And angels watch over
His fold.

You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though it seems far too early to go.
Heaven’s angels will take you where tears are no more
And they’ll lead you to glory untold.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your sorrow,
Though your life has been burdened by care.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you safely back home
And you’ll rest from your labors there.

P.S. While I was looking up “Mimi’s version” I found another one (so why couldn’t I have found it earlier… I know not).  It has pictures with it.





Several months ago one of my nephew’s, David Andrew Edmunds, passed away. Another nephew sang a beautiful song by Rob Gardner (I think William Hyde may have written the words). It was SO beautiful – so comforting and tender. Here are the words (and maybe you can find the tune on YouTube?… you’re ALL a lot smarter about things like that than I am!).  And remember: Saturday is a special day!!  Love, MEE


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your way may be burdened by thorns.
For the Lord will be with you each step of the way
As you travel with faith through the storm.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your trials,
Though they seem far too heavy to bear.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your body is tired and worn.
For the Lord will send angels to lift up your arms
And He’ll carry the burden you’ve born.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your suff’ring,
Nor the grief you’ve been called on to bear,
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.


There is nothing to fear from the nights that are lonely,
There’s nothing to fear from the cold!
There’s nothing to fear from what might be tomorrow,
For heaven is with you,
And angels watch over
His fold.


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though it seems far too early to go.
Heaven’s angels will take you where tears are no more
And they’ll lead you to glory untold.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your sorrow,
Though your life has been burdened by care.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you safely back home
And you’ll rest from your labors there.





On Sunday afternoon I listened to the Messiah on KBYU-FM (I pretty much have this radio station on all the time). This recent recording by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra with special guests as soloists is exquisite! I really enjoyed listening. It brought back many memories of participating in the Messiah for many years while I was still in my hometown of Cedar City (I love that place!!).


I consider music as a major factor in my life. I don’t know quite how to explain it – I guess I can say that I don’t know what I’d do without music. It easily lifts my spirits and (depending on what’s “playing” in my mind at any given moment) can move me to tears and deep, sweet feelings of all kinds. Music is in my head (my mind) constantly, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.


Sometimes I’m surprised when I become aware of this – of the song or music “going on” without me having to pay attention… no records to turn over, no sound to turn up or down, no need to worry about words I can’t remember or anything else. The music just keeps playing. And the variety! Oh my goodness! It can go from classical to a song I remember from 6th grade or songs I’ve heard my parents sing or my Daddy whistle…. Songs from girls’ camp, from the “sing away” at Zion the 2 years I worked there, from choirs I’ve been in, from the “hit parade” on KSUB years and years ago….


I LOVE MUSIC! I don’t think I could live without it! It gives me encouragement, calms me down when I’m frazzled, reminds me of good memories, and just blesses me in so many ways. I feel SO THANKFUL for music!! I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say and share about it at some future time.


And speaking of time… this is all I have time for this morning. Lots and LOTS to get done “right now” (you know the feeling….) But KBYU-FM is keeping me from being too stirred up by my long lists (yes… that’s plural). (And if you’re wondering what music is in my head right now: It’s zippity doo-dah!) Put some music in your day today!






Years ago I met Marvin K. Gardner who worked with Church magazines.  He’s one of the “good guys.”  He’s written hymns, including “Press Forward, Saints.”  He was on the committee which prepared the 1985 hymn book.  He wrote the words to a beautiful hymn, “Room In The Inn,” which was published in the New Era in December of 1989. This is a wonderful addition to whatever else we might read or think about today – on Christmas Eve.


  1. Ah, Joseph, how you wearily implore
    that someone will have pity on your plight,
    And, with compassion, open wide the door—
    For Jesus will be born this holy night.
    Will no one offer shelter to the stranger?
    Must Christ the King be cradled in a manger?


That night there was no room in the inn;
This night may there be room within—
Within my heart for him.


  1. Ah, Mary, how you patiently endure!
    While heav’n awaits the blessed baby’s birth,
    You wait outside the inn—alone, obscure—
    And pray for some compassion here on earth!
    You would have given shelter to the stranger.
    Why must your Son lie cradled in a manger?



  1. O Father, how thy sons and daughters cry—
    The lonely ones, the weary, the oppressed.
    Fill thou my heart with love, that I may try
    To lift another’s burden, give him rest.
    Oh, may I have compassion for the stranger.
    Remembering that Baby in a manger!



Text:  Marvin Gardner
Music:  Vanja Watkins
Composition Date:  1989-12-01

The music is included in the New Era Dec 1989




Christmas in Africa

A couple and their 3 small children had gone to live in Africa for 3 years due to the husband’s work assignment. They held Church meetings in their own living room with just each other – there were no other LDS people in the area. By their third Christmas, Jan, the Mom, was very homesick. She confessed this to a good friend who was a Mennonite. Jan told her how she missed her own people, their traditions, even snow. Her friend sympathized and invited her to go with her the next month to the Christmas services being held in the only Protestant church in the area. She said there would be a reunion at that time for all the Mennonite missionaries on the whole continent.  It took some talking for Jan to persuade her husband, but there they were, being ushered kindly to the front of a small chapel. It felt good being in a church again at Christmas time. The minister gave a poignant sermon on Christ, and the congregation sang familiar carols with joy. Then, at the very end of the meeting, a choir of Mennonite missionaries from all over Africa made their way to stand just in front of Jan and her family. Without a word, they began singing. Without a leader, without music, without text, they sang ‘Come, Come Ye Saints.’ Every verse. Totally taken by surprise, Jan and her husband wept while being carried home on Christmas by these wonderful missionaries singing this beautiful hymn. When the choir finished, Jan’s friend said simply, “for you. Our gift.” This dear friend had sent to Salt Lake City for the music to the Mormon hymn that she knew Jan loved. She duplicated it and distributed a copy to every Mennonite missionary in Africa. All the missionaries had learned it perfectly, and they used it to bring the spirit of Christ to their reunion, where [a little Mormon family] would be so grateful to hear it. (Emma Lou Thayne, “The Gift,” Exponent II, Fall 1986, 6) (The Heart Of Goodness, A Radiant Path To A Richer, Fuller Life, Jo Ann Larsen, Shadow Mountain, Salt Lake City, 1999, pp 285-6)


Last evening I had a deeply moving, beautiful experience which fed and thrilled my soul. I attended “The Messiah” in the San Clemente stake center – an interfaith performance which was completely wonderful.  What a perfect way to add to this season of the year. If anyone reading this lives at all close to San Clemente, get over there this evening – they’re performing again at 7:00 pm.  This is such a fantastic way to focus on the real meaning of the season.  Thank you, Handel!!  He wrote all the music (and this is no “short” accomplishment… the whole “Messiah” takes a long time!) in about 3 weeks!! He obviously had Heavenly Help on that astonishing accomplishment.  You can’t listen or participate without feeling that!

Last night brought back a flood of memories to me.  In my growing-up years, our town put on “The Messiah” every Christmas.  There were almost as many people in the choir and orchestra as there were in the audience.  We put it on not just once, but for a few nights and maybe one afternoon. A wonderful man, Roy Halversen, who lived on First West just a little ways from our house asked us (the children in the ward) to find out if our parents had any stringed instruments.  He said he’d fix them up and teach us how to play.  Here was a man who had studied at Julliard and likely could have become very famous and very wealthy.  But he chose to live in our town, Cedar City (Utah), and influence hundreds and thousands of us as the many years went by.  He was joined by others, including “Pa” Manning, Blaine Johnson and others, who helped with the choirs and soloists and all. It was a blessing to live in a community where music and other good things were highly valued.

bb1  bb3

My Dad had a three-quarter size violin which he played as a little boy, and he and Mom bought a half-sized cello for my younger sister Charlotte (it looked like a guitar!), and Mr. Halversen began teaching us how to play.



We were around 9 and 7 at the time, and right away Mr. Halversen let us participate in “The Messiah.”  We were way at the back of the orchestra, and his kind instruction to us was:  “Don’t try to play all the notes.  Just enjoy the thrill of participating in “The Messiah!”  Oh YES! What a thrill!!

As the years went by and we learned to play a little better, we moved a few inches closer to the front of the orchestra.  At one point Charlotte and I were going to four orchestra practices a day – Junior High, High School, College, and Community.  We learned symphonies, participated in several operas and operettas, toured through the great communities in the area – Beaver, Delta, Kanab and so on.  We played for the dedications of schools and other buildings, played for graduations from BAC, high school, junior high, and lots of other events.  We even had a spot in our chapel for a small ensemble!  Imagine that!  And we formed a group from our ward members and played occasionally.  (That dear chapel of my childhood was recently “taken down,” and it was SO hard driving by that empty lot the first time. Don and Jacque Marchant were kind enough to get a brick for me and also a DVD which was made of this historical “Second Ward Chapel” … and yes I’m even very sentimental about buildings).

OK – back to orchestra and all.  Perhaps this wasn’t the Big Time.  We never performed for pay or made a recording or any such thing.  We didn’t have “uniforms” – just “Sunday Best.”  But for me, this was a life-changing experience – this introduction to beautiful music, and the joy of being part of sharing it with others.  It softened me in an important way and created a spiritual sensitivity that hadn’t been nurtured in quite that way before.  And the “Messiah” was one of the highlights of every year.

In December of 1954, Mr. Halversen brought 5 or 6 brand new violins to one of our practices, and he told me they were made by Dale Stevens in Salt Lake and were wonderful instruments.  He told me to choose one, and he’d let me play it in the Messiah that year.  This was about my 5th year to participate, and I can’t describe the thrill of “trying out” those new violins and picking one which was really beautiful and seemed to me to have a great sound. I asked him if he thought I’d chosen a good one, and he said absolutely, that it was an excellent instrument.  And I played it that year in all our performances of “The Messiah.”  I always cried (as I did last evening) with deep feelings, and I felt SO BAD that I got some tear drops on that violin! That brand new violin!  After our first performance, my parents came up to me and said “Merry Christmas.”  They had joined with Mr. Halversen in giving me an incredible gift: a brand new violin (which I still have).


Years later I was with a good friend, Lora Beth, in the Provo Tabernacle (which will soon be a Temple!) for a Messiah “sing-in.”  She has a wonderful voice and it was a great experience being next to her.  At some point she said “What are you doing??”  I told her “I’m playing my violin!  I’ve never sung the Messiah – I’ve only played.”  But last night as all of us in the stake center stood and sang “The Hallelujah Chorus” together, I can’t even describe how it felt….   It was such a thrilling experience… and I didn’t “play” in the critical “rest” in the “Hallelujah Chorus!” – that always used to be a big fear of mine.

I look forward to seeing Mr. Halversen again.  He probably has my Dad (who played the violin) in an orchestra on the Other Side, along with many others from Cedar City who have arrived since those days so many years ago.  (His grandson, Eric Huntsman, sings in the Tabernacle Choir now and is a professor in ancient scripture at BYU, and participates in “Time Out for Women”).  I visited his dear wife, Maud, whenever I went to Cedar City, sometimes with Charlotte and Mom. Maud would make us her famous rolls, and cherry pie, and we’d have such wonderful visits.  Later her family moved her to Orem to be closer to her.  I took my Mother to visit her, and it was wonderful to do a lot of remembering.  She and my Mother both lived well into their 90’s.


Last night, after we finished singing “The Hallelujah Chorus,” we sang “Silent Night” (probably my favorite Christmas hymn), and oh…. I wish all of you could have been there.  “Son of God, love’s pure light!”  When we got back I looked for and found (with help from “Google”) the Tabernacle Choir singing the final part of “The Messiah” (there wasn’t time for all of it in last night’s wonderful performance) and listened to “Worthy Is The Lamb,” and then it felt “complete” (even though I seldom hear a performance anymore which includes “Why Do the Nations” which used to be sung by Joe Hunter, who ran “Joe’s Diner” – in an old railroad car – on the south side of Cedar City).  It’s been wonderful to bring back sweet memories this morning.  It will be an especially beautiful Sabbath today – I hope it is for ALL of us!


A20 (2)


Roy Halversen was born on October 17, 1904 and passed away on Friday, March 16, 1979.  He was only 74.  Mom, Charlotte and I went to Cedar City for the funeral.  That was a tender experience.  He had been one of the most influential people in my life.  Dear Maude lived almost another 30 years; she was 98!

Maude Macfarlane Halversen passed away early September 21, 2008, in Orem, Utah.  She was born July 7, 1910, in Cedar City. She was the oldest daughter of Caleb William Macfarlane and Ida Caroline Corry.  She married the love of her life, Roy Lemon Halversen, on June 5, 1929, and the couple spent their first year together studying music in Berlin, Germany. They returned to Cedar City to start a family and build a life together, where Roy taught violin and music at the BAC (now Southern Utah University). They were sealed in the Logan Temple on May 20, 1932, and had three children: Shirley Renee (Donald) Milne, Marilyn (Dennis) Huntsman, and Roy Chad.  Her beloved Roy died March 16, 1970. Maude finished her B.A. when her son was in junior high school and went on to have a fulfilling career as a teacher, teaching first grade at Cedar North Elementary for 19 years. Known for her beautiful soprano voice and radiant smile, she was a well-known figure in Cedar City, where she served on the Music Arts Committee and was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and many other civic clubs and organizations. An active member of the LDS Church, she served many years in the primary, always sang in the choir, and was a hard-working Relief Society president in the Cedar Second Ward.  Despite all these activities, home and family were central to her life. She has left a loving and faithful legacy not only to her three children and their spouses but to 8 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren.  A music scholarship in honor of Roy L. and Maude M. Halversen has been established at Southern Utah University.


Joshua Bell’s experiment

I ran across a story several years ago which got me thinking about how much I’m missing as I got through too many of my days as if plowing through the middle of important experiences and opportunities and beautiful reminders of a loving Heavenly Father and a Beautiful Savior.  Perhaps this story will be a reminder for you, too.


On a cold January morning in 2007 at the Washington DC Metro Station, a man posing as a “street musician” gave an incognito performance to morning commuters.  It was actually Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist who is recognized as one of the greatest violinists of our time. He’s received Grammy awards. He performed beautiful, complex music on an instrument he had purchased a few years earlier, worth $3.5 million (handcrafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1713), and he opened his violin case for tips.


He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.  After 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.  4 mins later, the violinist received his first dollar – a woman threw the money in the case and, without stopping, continued to walk. 6 minutes later, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


At about 10 minutes, a 3 year-old boy stopped as if wanting to stay and listen, but his mother tugged at him.  He still listened and watched.  Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on. For 45 minutes he continued to play.  Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.  No one knew that they had walked by one of the best musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a Stradivarius violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.


From a newspaper article:  “No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend? Journalist Gene Weingarten was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his outstanding and thought provoking analysis of the experiment.  Weingarten discussed the ramifications of Bell’s subway experience. What role does context play in our artistic perceptions? To what degree is our perception of beauty influenced by our mindset at the particular time we perceive it?  In a common-place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments …. HOW MANY OTHER THINGS ARE WE MISSING?  It’s a great question, and I’ve thought a lot about it since reading about this experiment.

Joshua Bell

Joshua David Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on 09 December, 1967, the son of a psychologist and a therapist.  He began taking violin lessons at the age of four after his mother discovered her son had taken rubber bands from around the house and stretched them across the handles of his dresser drawer to pluck out music he had heard her play on the piano. His parents got a scaled‑to‑size violin for their then five‑year‑old son and started giving him lessons. A bright student, Bell took to the instrument but lived an otherwise normal midwest Indiana life playing video games and excelling at sports (tennis and bowling), even placing in a national tennis tournament at the age of ten.  Bell studied as a boy first under Mimi Zweig, then switched to the renowned violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold after Bell’s parents assured Gingold that they were not interested in pushing their son in the study of the violin but simply wanted him to have the best teacher for his abilities. Satisfied that the boy was living a normal life, Gingold took Bell on as his student. By 12 Bell was serious about the instrument, thanks in large part to Gingold’s inspiration.  At the age of fourteen, he appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He studied the violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, while managing to graduate from Bloomington High School North in 1984 – two years ahead of schedule. In 1989, Bell received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University. His alma mater also honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award only two years after his graduation. He has been named an “Indiana Living Legend” and received the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award.

Joshua Bell3

He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985 (at 18) with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has since performed with almost all of the world’s major orchestras and conductors. As well as the standard concerto repertoire, Bell has performed new works — Nicholas Maw’s violin concerto is dedicated to him, the recording of which won Bell a Grammy and gave the world premiere of the work in 1993. He performed the solo part on John Corigliano’s Oscar‑winning soundtrack for the film “The Red Violin.”  He also made an appearance in the movie “Music of the Heart,” a story about the power of music, with other notable violinists, and he collaborated with film composer Hans Zimmer by providing violin solos for the soundtrack for the 2009 film, “Angels and Demons,” based on Dan Brown’s 2000 novel.

Joshua Bell2

Bell’s instrument was made in 1713 during what is known as Antonio Stradivari’s “Golden Era.”  Bell had seen the violin and came across it again, only to discover that it was about to be sold to a German industrialist to become part of a collection. Bell was reportedly “practically in tears.”  He sold his current Stradivarius for a little more than two million dollars and made the purchase of the more valuable violin. His first recording made with the Gibson ex Huberman was Romance of the Violin in 2003.  It sold more than 5,000,000 copies and remained at the top of classical music charts for 54 weeks.  Bell was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize on April 10, 2007, at Lincoln Center in New York City. The prize is given once every few years to classical instrumentalists for outstanding achievement.  He has a son, Josef Matricardi Bell, born 31 July, 2007.


Joshua Bell performed in Union Station in Washington, D.C. on September 30, 2014, over 7 years after he posed as a street performer in the Metro, and nobody noticed him. On this day in 2014, he made sure everyone did.  At first glance, his performance bore no resemblance no resemblance to his famous subway performance seven years earlier. Hundreds of spectators packed into the main hall of Union Station, sitting on the hard floor, trying to squeeze close to the front along the edges of the room, and some even climbing on construction scaffolding to see over the mass of people.  He played with nine students from the National Young Arts Foundation.  It was said that “this is a lot better than the first time. A lot better, trust me.”  Better, that is, because people were actually paying attention. This performance was “a do-over for the people in Washington, not a do-over for Bell.”  The one greeting everyone said “We accept your apology.”  After the 2007 performance, there were a few moments which Bell found particularly painful to relive: “The awkward times,” he calls them. It’s what happens right after each piece ends: nothing. The music stops, and the same people who hadn’t noticed him playing don’t notice that he has finished. No applause, no acknowledgment.

But this time, after first movement, the station echoed with booming applause, whoops and cheers. Bell beamed as he said, “This is more like it!” Then, looking out at the impressive crowd, he says, “The only thing I regret is we don’t have an open violin case for tips this time.”


He didn’t consider this performance “redo;” it was a reimagining. Bell didn’t like the answer he found last time, so today he created a different one. He wanted to prove that art could transcend, if only you give people a little nudge. “I think the whole idea is that if you give people a chance to listen to music and let them concentrate, then it means something,” Bell told TIME afterwards. “And this shows even in a train station that people can be totally focused.”  Finally, almost a decade later, Bell got the answer he was looking for when he first donned his baseball cap and descended into the Metro.  “I thought of it as closure,” he says. “It was a perfect end.”  Then he laughed: “I don’t see myself ever doing this again.”  Following the performance, Bell said, he would hop on a train.