Just prior to the evening's opening selection, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra musicians always come on stage and tune their instruments. At first the ensuing cacophony sounds like confusion, as far from music as you can get. The tympani pounds asynchronously as the drummer finds his notes. The pinging of violin strings can be heard as the tuning pegs are alternately tightened and loosened. Harsh notes emerge from horns. A xylophone tinkles, searching for melody. The whole process can be very unpleasant to the ear.
And then the conductor appears on stage. And, as if by magic, what was previously perceived as noise finds the meter and becomes music.
Buzz Aldrin walked on a different stage a few days ago. Though not as trained, not as in tune, and not as experienced, the instruments he now stands in front of are finding their voices. He has heard the noise before and recognized its potential. He also carried his baton with him, struck the podium twice, and brought focus to the emerging tones. Perhaps now, the confused clamor will produce the requiem we are all hoping to hear.