Things I Love: “The People’s House” by John Williams


As I was driving home from work today, a piece of music began to play from the classical station. I listened, and I began to cry.

There I was, weeping on the 101 Freeway with backed-up traffic for the holiday weekend.

Presidents’ Day weekend.

Whoa! Now, why did he cut in front of me like that?

I turned up the volume.

A gentle clarinet, and then sweet horns, flutes, and strings swelling to carry home cars, concrete, sirens, road rage, hot weather, homeless, Southern California, sunsets, and me — a surreal mix.

What is this music that is affecting me so?

The announcer purred. “That was ‘The People’s House’ by John Williams, from his Oscar-nominated soundtrack for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.”

Off the freeway, down to a red light. I reached for a scrap of paper and searched for a pencil.

So much trash in this compartment.

People’s House. Hurry up! Watch the light! Write it down or you’ll forget! Lincoln. Soundtrack. Williams.



Soon after I got home, I bought the track from iTunes for a dollar and some change. I listened to it repeatedly as I wrote this post — so uplifting, and yet it also evokes in me a certain longing, a yearning for something fresh, something better. And the sound of the trumpet that graces the End.

I think that’s why I cried on the freeway this holiday weekend going home.

Have you heard this music before or seen the movie?

Darla McDavid

I'm Darla, a writer of stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. I love cats, coffee, gardening, and tall stacks of books. Click here to subscribe to my blog. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. In my other life, I'm an administrative professional and a Sunday School teacher for preschoolers.

6 Comments Write a comment

  1. Darla I can picture you on the 101 being transported by the beauty of the music. I can also relate to being moved to tears or being carried back in time and also to trying to drive while searching for something to write with so as not to forget. Enjoy the holiday weekend. Trish


    • Yes, it was an interesting drive. Music, words, visuals — It’s like composers and writers and artists are given a superpower that can be used to affect others deeply and in so many ways. Thanks, Trish. Have a great weekend.


  2. Thank you, Darla. I sat here listening again and again. I had heard it before, but there are some days, some slants of sunlight melting snow, some whispers of wind moving the chimes outside the window, that give new clarity and poignancy to wonderful music. Today was one of those days, and I thank you.


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