This idea began during a service at my home church, Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. The first hymn on Sunday was "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee," Henry Van Dyke's 1907 setting of English words to the finale of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth (or "Choral") Symphony. (It's often referred to as "Ode to Joy," after the Schiller poem which was the source of Beethoven's original words.)
I've sung or played it on some of the more magnificent days of my life, and it only adds to the joy. Here's the start of the first verse:
Joyful, joyful we adore thee
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Good stuff. But get to the third and last verse, and it's far richer. Here it is:
Mortals, join the happy chorus
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o'er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life.
I think that's what Pablo Casals, the great cellist, must have been thinking of when he favored the Ninth Symphony as something that every orchestra in the world should play to promote peace among men and nations. (Thanks to The Rev. Vicky Curtiss of Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago for that tidbit, and thus this idea.)
Joy and peace to you -- through music -- this Thanksgiving and always!