Why the Blue Danube Waltz and Bagpipes Should Make Leaders Pay Attention #12
By Graham Bell
Stirring my Patriotic Emotions
I’m a patriotic internationalist – happy to be Scottish, British, European and a citizen of the world. I don’t think I have rose-tinted views of any countries, nor am I too bleak. I try to avoid narrow nationalism in whatever form it takes. But every now and then something comes along that stirs my patriotic emotions…
One of my favourite pastimes is listening to music. My taste may be described as ‘eclectic’ – I pick and choose among genres; sometimes because the tune gets me, other times because of the words and frequently because music seems to have a particular way of hooking on to events and memories in my brain. It truly is amazing how just a few bars of a song or tune can transport you through time and space to another place and experience.
I think the Shazam app is amazing – it can identify a tune for you – but it is primitive compared to how the brain can link music to smells and emotions that you thought were buried for ever.
Anyway, back to the stirring of my patriotic heart! I went to our local community social enterprise cinema in the Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh, Argyll, (a great story in its own right) to see the Andre Rieu New Year Concert, which had been recorded in Sydney some weeks previously. He is a wonderful classical and popular musician but wonderfully irreverent too. It is just a good fun singalong, clapalong and humalong. Not for the purist! Rieu is a global phenomenon, performing his music across the planet, and also drawing his musicians and singers from the four corners of the earth.
So, we enjoyed a great range of music – and I was impressed to see how he uses international activity to promote the best of international collaboration and cooperation. And being the leadership nerd that I am, I got to thinking about the amazing challenges he overcomes to criss-cross the planet with such a big number of people as well as put on international events year in, year out.
Now that's what I call Leadership
And, of course, he leads as a conductor – giving the strong impression that his business and organisational leadership is heavily influenced by his technical skill as a musical conductor.
Now I am under no illusion about the number of people making sure that it works as a global event. But surely that is what makes his leadership all the more admirable. In the helter-skelter life he and his team must lead, they still manage to sparkle, delighting audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
To drive home the helter skelter point it is being illustrated by the one from the Edinburgh New Year celebrations (yet more masterly leadership at play). ‘Auld Lang Syne’ has a lot to answer for and has made Scotland’s role in New Year celebrations almost an essential element, regardless of where you are in the world.
And so back to my patriotic stirrings watching the Andre Rieu concert from Sydney, Australia in The Tower Digital Arts Centre, in Helensburgh, Argyll. Having assaulted our senses and emotions with wonderful music he then proceeds to bring on a full pipe band, allowing the bagpipes to let rip! What skill and what insight, blending the best, and making it a spectacle for others to enjoy. Leadership at its very best!
The great leaders are like the best conductors - they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.
Blaine Lee Pardoe
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