So what does happen to a dream deferred?
Stories like the below kill me. It has everything: a compelling riches-to-rags-to-riches tale, a Big Unrealistic Dream, scrappy commitment against the odds, a good Samaritan, and courage enough to change course at the end.
When Stuart Sharp’s newborn son died 35 years ago, the man felt like his world was falling apart. His wife would spend the next year in the hospital from complications caused by the labor, and “I was in so much trauma you can not imagine,” Sharp told the Daily Mail.
But on the day of his son’s funeral, something remarkable happened to Sharp: he began to hear a beautiful song playing in his head. The song was nothing he had heard before, but, said Sharp, “I could see the whole orchestra playing and as I watched I could see all the individual notes being played on the different instruments.”
Over the months and years to come, Sharp would often hear the music again. And though he had no musical training, he soon became determined to transcribe the music so that it could be performed. “I came to understand that it was music for my son and I could see it on stage one day,” he said.
Unfortunately, Sharp’s life soon took a turn for the worse. The tragedy of their son’s death led Sharp and his wife to split up, and he became a heavy drinker. He left their family home, and ended up living on the streets of London for years, working whatever odd jobs he could find, and eating scraps of food. But after scrounging up 50 pence to purchase a beat-up old guitar, he taught himself to play the melody that he’d been hearing in his head.
One night, while sleeping on the ground outside the BBC’s Television Centre, he met jazz musician Anthony Wade. Wade heard Sharp playing his song, and offered to help him transcribe the music, as well as a place to stay. Thanks to Wade’s help, Sharp managed to get back on his feet, and developed a successful career in sales and property.
“By 1994 I was rich and had a huge home in central London and I decided to buy a recording studio so I could finally realise my dream,” said Sharp. It took him several years to finally finish transcribing his symphony, and the 40-minute opus has now been recorded by London’s Philharmonic Orchestra.
Alan Wilson, the Orchestra’s conductor, was astonished by Sharp’s symphony. “Stuart’s vision for his musical work was remarkable and it’s quite astounding that a non-professional musician has come up with something of this quality,” he said. “I guess it’s a bit like someone attempting brain surgery without ever going to medical school – genius.”