The story behind the song ” The Window” – Patrick Lee Hebert

Ok, this one is the hardest one of all. This song literally changed my entire life. From the beginning it has always been a mystery as to how it actually could have happened. The Window was written totally as an improvisation caught on tape. It took me over a year to perfect it and learn how to play it. How crazy does that sound? When I started sharing it with people ( over a 2 years later) it had a profound effect on the listener. I honestly believed it was a ” raving ” from my hurt soul ( more on that in a minute). I had a new friend named Michael St. Jean. We had met at Sears where I was presently working selling vacuum cleaners.  I invited him over to my piano studio to hear me play some Mozart I was learning. Mike was an opera singer of sorts, so he loved classical music. Somehow, I ended up playing some new compositions and an old song called ” The Window” I will never forget the way it transported me back. I had never played this for ANYONE before. He was so taken by it, he talked me into my first public concert of my works, which was April 14th, 1992 at UMASS Lowell, a college in Lowell Mass. He insisted the world would love it and my other songs I had now written. I was completely against it and told him so. He said ” Too bad Patrick, you are scheduled to play in a few months, and I have paid for everything” Of course I was terrified and begged him to cancel. He said he had made commitments and he had newspapers lined up and everything. I had to come through. I reluctantly agreed as long as I could perform classical for the first half so the audience would at least enjoy that. I was used to performing gospel and classical. I had been for several years. So as the time approached, I got ready and was more scared by the day. The Window was personal, no-one wanted to hear it. It was a mad work by a broken man. 

The Window, Patrick Lee Hebert, Piano Solos, Original Piano compositions,
The original album cover of "The Window"

To make a long story short, this performance changed everything. The audience did like my works…alot. I was then asked to become a player for the Cercle Francais and the ” Bonjour” television show with Josee Vachon  where I played songs and spoke pretty broken french for all of Canada and the Northeastern US. I also remember it was the last time my dear mother ever heard me perform in public. She was in the front row and was so proud of me she said. She passed away six months later. She had tears in her eyes when I told the audience about “The Window”, she had been there you see, and knew what I had been through. Things musically were going well and Mike decided it was time to make a CD, that new invention everyone was getting into. He again financed the whole project and my recording career was launched. I never knew how far it would take me spiritually, musically and financially. I was a composer!!! The Window changed it all. It took a friend with faith and vision where I had none, but here we were. Four years later, I would record ” The Poet’s Dream” under my own label and it is all I have done since.  Amazing. Quite different from the bleak night I wrote that song and became a different person. Here is how the Window came to be:

I was married with a young daughter by the age of 19. I thought all was well and I was a father working toward a future of unlimited happiness. I had a great job selling Yamaha pianos and was performing in malls regularly for them. I was making amazing money and had a new car, a new motorcycle and lots of nice clothes and jewelry. My church even bought me a brand new six-foot grand to play on. I was styling as they say. I came home one day to a message to call work. They were closing the store and I was out of a job in a month. I was devastated. I got a job cleaning carpets for $6.00 and hour. Quite a change. I lost my motorcycle, car and confidence. Little did I know!

I remember January, 1989 coming home to a note that my wife had left. I had no idea where she and my daughter were. This began a three-month period of unbelievable emotional stress. She finally contacted me in April declaring the worst…divorce. I still didn’t know why and began to lose weight and generally go out of my mind. The night she called me, I went to my new grand piano. I was so conflicted. I remember putting a tape recorder on the piano and playing for seven plus minutes. Complete improvisation. I wrote about love and the loss of love. I missed my daughter and wife. I was angry beyond words and full of despair. It all came out. I took that tape and listened to it for months before attempting to play it again. I decided to call it ” The Window”  because it made me look back at my entire life. I transcribed it over time and held on to it until Mike heard it as I described above. I also remember that was the night I began writing poetry. I have written 1100 poems since and published many. A new book ” The Forgotten Dream” is coming out soon. It is being edited as I write. A lot of my poems from that era were ravings, but they helped me cope. It took years, but I put my life together and with the help of God, I am married to a wonderful woman and have 5 children and one grandson. Life got wonderful. ” The Window” still haunts me though to this day. It is a remembrance of where I started and where I am. This can be a strengthening factor.

The structure of “The Window” is very linear. It holds on a chord then moves to another movement never repeating. The recording is EXACTLY as it was done that night. I never changed a thing. It was a very raw composition but very real as well. I concertized it for 2 decades and still do. I also can be brought back with just the opening chord, which reminds me of a tolling bell, filled with grim apprehension. There are times in the song where hope prevails…a theme I seem to keep in all my minor works for some reason. There is always hope for us. My experience proves it. SO please listen to ” The Window” with an open mind. I pray you are moved by the composition of a fledgling composer with real feelings to portray. Enjoy !

PS….The original recording as well as a video of that first concert still exist and I plan to someday release them.

Here is ” The Window”

Patrick Lee Hebert – Highland Piano Studios 2010