Last April, composer, arranger and conductor Paul Caldwell was weeks away from leaving Chicago for a new life and new job as the artistic director for the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus. But after leaving his best friend’s place, he became the victim of a terrible hit and run accident.
Caldwell was struck by a car, severely fracturing several bones in his body, including his legs and right arm. His head landed on a bag filled with sheet music, rather than the hard street, saving his life.
With Caldwell unable to take care of himself, he was immediately surrounded by members of his Chicago choruses that did everything from bathing him to cutting his food to making sure his bills were paid.
And it was his best friend whose house Caldwell left that fateful night that rarely left Caldwell’s side.
Through the outpouring of kindness and the healing process, Caldwell came to a realization that he wanted to focus and show caring towards others in the same way that others cared for him.
“I think before then, I was much more focused on Paul Caldwell the conductor, Paul Caldwell the person, Paul Caldwell the guy with the career, Paul Caldwell the guy whose name was on printed sheet music because he wrote it. And what happened after that is I really became Paul the person," he says. "I care far more about spending time with people now … people who care about me and people who care about the world and people who care about other people.”
He was also able to say, “I love you.” Caldwell shared his feelings with the best friend who barely left his side while in the hospital, and they now have plans to be married.