I was a student at York High School in York, Maine from 1998 – 2001. At this time, our HS auditorium left much to be desired – small, outdated, drab. BUT our music programs were top notch, as were my fellow musically-inclined classmates.
One of my 2001 classmates was a music man beyond his time. I am not sure I fully realized his brilliance until I attended a concert in said drab auditorium. I believe this concert was a mix of group choral pieces and individual or small group performances. From what I recall, it was an event that was typical and lovely and part of the standard stuff of school.
After something traditionally choral (think Bridge Over Troubled Water), choral members quietly shuffled stage left, the lights dimmed, the low ceilinged auditorium fell silent, and deep blue lighting flooded the scene.
And from the abyss came Asa.
U2’s MLK was nothing I had ever heard before. As soon as the hum of the background music began, before a word was sung, the audience was transfixed.
"MLK" by U2 from The Unforgettable Fire
Asa’s voice hit those slow, reflective, meditative notes with such skill, empathy and seeming ease. And that deep blue lighting elevated the moment into another dimension.
This performance was beyond time and space. I knew it then and still know it now.
I am thankful for the bravery and brilliance of Asa, the music man. And I am thankful that he is currently a music teacher.
I reached out to Asa to tell him how his performance from so long ago came to mind when I listed to a Music That Moves Me segment. He was appreciative of the memory and mentioned that he rarely performs solo and focuses much on his students and their performances.
His music moved me. Still does and I hope always will.
Natalie Pavlov, Kittery