Leonard Bernstein was one of America’s greatest composers and conductors, directing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1958-1969. His musical “West Side Story” brought him wide acclaim.     

As a musician, he could do just about everything. He was an accomplished pianist. He was an innovator, delivering lessons on classical music by way of television — which in the 1950s was a new medium. He composed music in different genres. He developed orchestras comprised of only talented young people. And he was charismatic: he looked good on television.    

An admirer once asked Bernstein what was the hardest instrument to play. What would your answer be?     I would have answered that question by saying, “The oboe.” I played the oboe when I was in school. It’s a double-reed instrument. It’s not easy to play.    

But you might say that the hardest instrument to play is the French horn. What about a harp? Then again, the piano is not easy to learn, either, or a pipe organ. All of these are difficult instruments to master.    

But which one is the hardest? Bernstein replied without hesitation: “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet, if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”    

Sometimes, people who are retired say that retirement feels as though they’re playing second fiddle. Those who have serious illnesses also feel that they are no longer “first chair.”  It’s hard to take a backseat when we’ve been used to the front seat.    

Let’s not be afraid to play second fiddle — to add harmony to the melody of the first fiddle. —Timothy Merrill

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for allowing me the unspeakable privilege of being part of a grand symphony! Whatever my gifts and contributions may be, let them bring glory to you. Amen.      

Daily Bible Readings
Sunday: Acts 23-24
Monday: Acts 25-26
Tuesday: Ephesians 1-2
Wednesday: Ephesians 3
Thursday: Philippians 1-2
Friday: Philippians 3-4
Saturday: Psalms 130-131