There has been a lot of talk and press about the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”, so I think it would be appropriate if I chime in. I first heard about the concept behind the books on a flight to Memphis back in November, and I was instantly intrigued. I read the entire trilogy that weekend, and really felt an attachment to the story. I also watched the movie (twice) and enjoyed the visualization of this story very much. As you may or may not know, “The Hunger Games” takes place in the future after a giant war that has left only the remains of North America. Twelve districts are ruled by a single capitol, and power is sustained by choosing a boy and girl from each district once a year to fight to the death, with only a single victor returning home. Many parallels can be drawn from this idea, but I think it works particularly well within the profession of classical music.
After each “tribute” is chosen, they are sent to the capitol to train for the games. I find this similar to music in that it chooses us, in a way. Whether our parents throw us into music lessons at an early age, or we sign up for band in school to keep from taking P.E., music tends to choose us, instead of us choosing it. From there we practice and learn everything we can, all the way through college and graduate school, until we feel we’re ready to compete. In “The Hunger Games”, each tribute gets to demonstrate his/her skills to a panel, earning a score that calculates each participant’s likelihood of winning. Juries, recitals, and other graded performances can be seen as this, in a way. Finally, it is time for battle in the arena. Like the games, an audition is very similar. Many go in, most of which being eliminated early on, until there is only one victor.
One part of the story I drew very close to was a conversation between the president of this fictional capitol and the person in charge of managing the games. The president asked, “Why do you think we have a winner?” He said that it was hope – “the only thing greater than fear is hope”. When we go to school and get our various degrees, the biggest thing fueling the flame (for my anyway), is hope. With today’s economy and job market, having the privilege of making a good living by doing exactly what you’ve spend most of your life training to do often seems out of reach, but hope keeps us going.
Just in case you’ve decided not to read the books or see the film, I won’t give anything away, but when the victor returns back to his/her respective district, the cheers and pride of the family and friends is so heart warming. Winning the position in Detroit, in itself, was such an accomplishment for me. What I enjoyed even more was being received by all of the family and friends who had the same amount of hope for me. Whenever you’re feeling down, or that your dreams are just beyond your reach, remind yourself of hope. I have lots of it.
Speaking of Hope, I look forward to going back to Memphis this weekend and playing with the Hope Pres ensemble once again for Easter. If you’re looking for a place to attend services this weekend, Hope Pres is a great place for it. Visit hopepres.com for more info.