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Thursday, May 01, 2014


On July 4th of 2014 renowned scholar, author, presidential advisor, and movie writer/producer Dinesh D'Souza will release his latest movie entitled “America.” The theme music of that movie began as a suggestion in a Bismarck kitchen that a composer create a symphony. And he did, and the rest as they say, is history.

In January of 2004 my world came crashing down when my 26 year old son was killed on a highway in Wyoming. The sadness was so overwhelming and the pain so great that I thought it was going to crush all of us that loved that beautiful boy so much. Spent much of January and February immobilized, kind of shuffling around staring out the windows at the bleak winter scape. Then one day I found a couple of unopened CDs in the back of a drawer. I had bought those CD a year or two earlier during the Bismarck Folk Fest from some guy with a booth partly because he seemed kind of underwhelmed by customers and the music sounded nice.

Composer Brian Crain remembers the beginnings of the Spring Symphonies:

About ten years ago I was performing to a piano concert to wonderful North Dakota audience at the historic Belle Mehus Auditorium in Bismarck. After the concert, in the kitchen of Cathy and Steve Cates, Steve told me that, “I can not wait to hear Crain’s first symphony." I had never thought of writing a symphony and didn’t think I was that kind of composer. I spent the next year writing my first two symphonies and then recorded them with Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in Prague.

Later that year I debuted my first two symphonies at the Belle Mehus with the help of Steve Cates.

Currently, the last movement of my second symphony entitled “Allegretto” is used in a trailer for Dinesh D’Souza’s upcoming film called “America.’  It will also be the title track to the film. Look for the movie this 4th of July.



Writing this this morning, listening to Crain’s Spring Symphonies still nearly brings tears. My wife asked, “Are you OK”? And, “What are you thinking about”? I had to tell her that I was not thinking. All I could do was feel. The beauty of this music overwhelms. More than almost anything I know it is powerful enough to comfort when what seems to be an unmendable heart is aching. Brian’s music became kind of our life theme music. In the background for family gatherings, for working in the gardens and flowerbeds, for falling to sleep.  The effect was always peace and being attuned to beauty.

I used to call my 97 year old grandfather and play him Brian’s “Song of the Heart” because it was so much more eloquent than my simply telling him that I loved him.



Sometimes when I wish I could talk again to my son Josh I listen to Brian’s “Dream of Flying” and feel that then is as close as I can get on this earth to being with my beautiful baby boy.



What a blessing is the beauty that God has given the soul of one human to provide to the heart of another. Many others.

And you thought not much could happen in September at a street fair in Bismarck…..


Click here to email your elected representatives.


Thank you…no words.

Kathy O'Brien on May 1, 2014 at 02:12 pm
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