The lines were forming in the plaza outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral and it became very clear: this was not built as a tourist attraction but as a sacred place of worship. When seeing the stained glass through the eyes of a visitor very often the connection to divine light entering the cathedral is ignored. When seen from the outside the architectural details that are carved into the stone work create a stage for light to enter the cathedral. We stood outside and marvelled at the vision and detail.
The Cathedral needs a lot of “physical” restoration. Some 150 Million dollars or more. But this evening we witnessed another restoration. The voices from the corridors of the Cathedral reverberated an Ave Maria that silenced every breath. Every cough suppressed. The book-ends to the evening of sacred music were the Brahms Ave Maria and at closing the Bruckner Ave Maria.
In between a wonderful rendition of various Mendelssohn hymns. The choir was both youthful and energetic — schooled and devout.
This could be considered great art, and it was, however there was more happening in the Cathedral. Three thousand people paid to hear the romantic hymns of the 1850’s. Then there was this balance between the brilliant French organ and the voices at the foot of the altar.
In uncomfortable pews we sat for ninety minutes and were moved aesthetically, musically, spiritually and we sat in awe at how the spirit guides the church into another era. The number of selfies and images sent around the world after the concert would outstrip many a wanna be redemption project. Our kids keep telling us how bad our selfies are, yet this one was important. Maybe restoration has nothing to do with buildings.