With Roy Eaton, peace flows like a river of miracles that’s moved him through tragedies and triumphs. On a damp Saturday night, he shared his wisdom and music with a capacity crowd at the Good Shepherd Community Center.
Images: Irina Hage, Irina Island Images
The ingredient behind Roy Eaton’s passion for peace is transcendental meditation, a practice that carried him through unbearable tragedy.
A violent car accident took the life of his young wife, nearly 70 years ago, and – he was told – would end his piano-playing career, too. If not his life. In recovery, his meditation practice was the only thing that relieved his pain.
It also enabled his return to piano playing and barrier breaking on Madison Avenue. And it would serve him again when, at 87, he suffered a severe stroke. Doctors gave him a 3% chance of playing the piano again, but with Roy Eaton, there is no quit.
As a lucky group of Roosevelt Islanders and friends saw on Saturday night.
With Roy Eaton and Peace on Saturday Night.
The concert, celebrating the 93 year old master, was sponsored by Roosevelt Island Concerts, Main Street Theatre & Dance and the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association. But the theme was peace, not his magnificent career or his art.
The pianist made it that way.
Heavy on Chopin, the concert also included Bill Evans’s Peace Piece, Scott Joplin’s Solace and Eaton’s own Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
“You are all stars,” he explained, twinkling across the universe.
Throughout the evening, Eaton paused between numbers and commented on peace and wisdom learned through life. He urged the audience to understand how everyone – everything – is connect in love in a foundation of peace.
By happy coincidence, I ran into Roy at the senior center on Monday. He was finishing lunch with a familiar group.
I told him how much I and everyone else appreciated his performance.
“It was you,” he said, “not me,” stressing the unity he offered on Saturday night.
I thought that was a little too generous. Without his profound wisdom and his gift of music, neither me nor anyone else could have that experience.
But who was going to argue with Roy Eaton?
Note: All of Roy’s recordings can be streamed on iTunes. And if you still use physical media, his music is available on Amazon.