Brett Engler, Bryant Pond
I have been wanting to tell this story for a while....
As a shy, unconfident teenager, I was slowly finding my way in life, and, as a drummer, had found a love for jazz fusion. During college, among the many albums I purchased, I bought Mountain Dance by Dave Grusin. That album had some good tunes, but it did not excite me. In 1982 the movie On Golden Pond was released in theaters, and Mr. Grusin had scored the music, but I was not really interested to see it at that time.
As a teenager I had also slowly become more appreciative, at least subconsciously, of nature's multifaceted beauty. My mother had always appreciated it and would occasionally mention what bird was producing a certain sound or telling me the name of a certain colorful flower.
In September, 1983, my oldest brother, Win, was stabbed during an altercation with a man who was attempting to steal his car. Win did not have a chance and died on the sidewalk shortly after he was found by a passerby. He was only thirty-one years old and left behind a wife and two daughters.
My family was in shock, wondering how this could have happened to him, to us. My mother was especially devastated, as any mother who has lost a child will understand. The successive weeks and months are slightly hazy, but my family was changed forever. I believe we were all experiencing our own states of depression. We were slowly returning to a certain state of normalcy, and in one instance my parents and I watched On Golden Pond one evening. I was in awe of the beauty of Squam Lake (portrayed as Golden Pond in the movie), and the music, oh, the music, was capturing this beauty extremely well! I think that movie unwittingly boosted my interest in nature and orchestral music.
In November of 1983 I went to visit my sister and her husband and while there bought a copy of the "On Golden Pond" soundtrack at a local store. Back home I vividly remember an afternoon when I was playing the opening theme for my mother who was standing by a window that overlooked our back yard. There is a final crescendo of strings and piano that soars like a bird climbing into the sky or like the brilliant morning sunlight on a lake, then gently resting to the fading call of a loon. When the song was over my mother said, "Win will never be able to hear that sound," and began to cry. It was at that moment that I forever linked that song to that memory, and to this day, when I hear that song, I will sometimes begin to cry because of the song's beauty, the beauty of nature, and the sadness of my brother's death and my mother's grief...and this is music that moves me.