Decoupaging and the Ministry of Music

Today, I tried decoupaging for the first time on my own.  I have decided that decoupaging is tricky business.  School starts back up on the 28th, so I’m trying to get my summer crafts projects finished.  The frame that I used today was originally intended for a chalk board.  However, since the weather was about 20 degrees too hot for the chalk board spray paint, I’m going to save the chalk board craft for fall break.  I bought this frame with a picture of Garth Brooks at GoodWill for $5.

I found this sheet music at an antique store for $1.  I couldn’t find a date on the music, but it is a lot like some other music I have from the early 1900s, so I’m dating it around that time. 

Since the music falls apart at the slightest touch, I decided to tear it up for decoupaging.  However, I read the story behind the song on the first page of the music and decided on a different course of action. 

Some of the words are missing from the upper corner, but what I made out was:

One of the most charming pianists of this city having observed — the ladies observe everything — that Gottschalk never passes an evening without executing… profound religious sentiment: his poetic reverie “The Last Hope,” asked of him his reason for so doing.  “It is” replied he, “because I have heart-memories … melody had become my evening prayer.”  These words seemed to hide a mournful mystery, and the inquirer dared not question the artist further.  A happy chance … given me the key to the admirable pianist’s reply to his lovely questioner.  During his stay at Cuba, Gottschalk found himself at S—, where a woman of mind and heart, to whom he had been particularly recommended conceived for him at once the most active sympathy in one of those sweet affections almost as tender as maternal love.  Struck down by an incurable malady, Madame S— mourned the absence of her only son, and could alone find forgetfulness of her sufferings while listening to her dear pianist, now become her guest and her most powerful physician.  One evening, while suffering still more than usual — “In pity,” said she, making use of one of the ravishing idioms of the Spanish tongue — “in pity, my dear Moreau one little melody the last hope!”  And Gottschalk commenced to improvise an air at once plaintive and pleasing — one of those spirit-breaths that mount sweetly to heaven whence they have so resently descended.  On the morrow the traveller-artist was obliged to leave his friend to fulfill an engagement in a neighboring city.  When he returned, two days afterwards the bells of the church of S — were sounding a slow and solemn peal.  A mournful presentiment suddenly froze the heart of Gottschalk, who hurrying forward his horse, arrived upon the open square of the church just at the moment when the mortal remains of Senora S — were brought from the sacred edifice.  This is why the great pianist always plays with so much emotion the piece that holy memories have cause him to name “The Last Hope” and why, in replying to his fair questioner he called it his “Evening Prayer” — Extract from La France Musicale, Gustave Chouquet.

To me, that is the most important use of music.  It’s a song for a cancer-ridden grandma, a song for a widow who misses her husband, a song so gentle it lulls its hearers to sleep, a song for the elderly in the nursing home, a song to draw a congregation to focus on God’s truths, a song to calm an autistic child during a thunderstorm, a song that’s a story, a song that’s a memory, a song that’s a prayer. It’s not about the musician at all.

So, this piece took front and center to my decoupaging project.  First, I tore up two 12×12 sheets of scrapbook paper (which is on sale at Hobby Lobby until the 16th).  I arranged the paper and used diluted white craft glue for the decoupage adhesive.  Here is how it turned out.

A silent reminder of the ministry of music.

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