College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

CU Regent Ludwig pens poem in appreciation of Holiday Festival

December 11, 2013

CU Regent Ludwig write poem in appreciation of Holiday Festival

Moved by a performance of the 2013 Holiday Festival, one of the College of Music's and CU Presents' most popular events year after year, University of Colorado Regent Stephen Ludwig authored a poem, "Cosmic Gift," that distills some of the emotions stirred by the performance.

In a letter to Dr. James Austin, interim dean at the CU-Boulder College of Music, Ludwig wrote:

"I was fortunate enough to attend your Holiday (Festival) Saturday evening (Dec. 7). Once again the students and faculty were amazing.

"I'm a huge fan of the arts and three of your graduate students were my vocal coach at some time or another. ... I wanted to let you know you have a fan on the Board (of Regents).

"Reflecting on the evening had me bring pen and paper to the (very modest) results I wanted to share.

"The poem is dedicated to the students, faculty staff and alumni of the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music." 

“Cosmic Gift”

By Stephen Ludwig

Tyrants rage
Despots destroy
Empires rise and fall

Yet music endures

Plagues, programs, propaganda
Censorship,
fads, fear

Yet music endures

Shouts of joy, cries of grief
Silly and naughty
Lust, love, faith, desperation
Protest and proclamation
Humanity in notes and verse

Music endures

13.6 billion years to produce
Voice and instrument
Orchestra and choir
The soup of the cosmos
Gifted this

Gratitude
Our debt to the
Artist
Honing their craft
Always practiced, perhaps mastered
Never perfected
They bless us
While society scoffs
Entertainment, folly, delusion, or worse
A tool to get kids better at math

What do we owe the professor?
Monks copying scripture on
Hearts and souls of those
Entrusted to their care
Passing knowledge
Generation to generation
Knowing without cultivation
Voices will sing,
Melodies play,
But we would mourn.
Something our heart needed
Wasn’t there anymore

This era too shall pass
Shiny objects and violent weekends
No longer numbing our spirit,
Holding dreams hostage
Keepers of the score,
Masters of the craft
Will be known for their
Light

Because Music Endures