One vivid memory. Playing "Silver Threads Among the Gold" in fifth grade for a classroom meeting of my elementary school's PTA. When I had finished I went out into the hallway to put my instrument back in its case. An older woman (now I would guess she had probably been the ripe old age of 35) came out of the class meeting and bent down beside me with tears in her eyes saying, "That was so beautiful. Thank you." Then she walked away. I never told anyone about that moment because, first of all, I didn't understand why she was crying, and secondly, I wouldn't have been able to put that experience into words. But obviously it has stayed with me all of these more than sixty years, and when I am occasionally asked in an interview what made me "go into music," I retroactively realize this was my first manifestation of the mystery and power music possesses which is beyond our ability to put into words- ineffable and miraculous.
Excerpted from Another Name for God by Richard Stoltzman, copyright 2015