The music you guys have created over the course of your career has simply changed my life. I discovered Octavarium first as a freshman in high school and was just astonished with the musicianship and artistic vision present on the album. I literally had never heard anything like it; music for me was irrevocably transformed from that point on. Then, inspired by In the Presence of Enemies in sophomore year, I got a guitar, starting studying music theory, and sought out other genres and artists which also celebrated music as a truly expressive and complex art. Through my greater appreciation of music, I also grew to value other types of art far more seriously, such as cinematography.
I got my mother into Dream Theater as well, and then together throughout my college search we would drive up and down the east coast of the United States to visit different campuses, each road trip punctuated by all of your albums but especially Black Clouds & Silver Linings. We would always timie it perfectly so that The Count of Tuscany would end as soon as we arrived for each college tour. The ambiance at the end of that song, along with the thunder in the beginning of the album, both perfectly encapsulated my feelings of my own future at the time. We even joked that A Rite of Passage was exclusively about college greek life!
In addition, Dream Theater's personal brand as not just a group of immensely talented musicians, but also genuine people who care for the world and their fans, is inspiring in and of itself. Be it Jordan playing a Japan benefit concert after the tsunami and nuclear disaster, or the guys always being so friendly night after night of meet and greets, or their playful banter with each other that they share online with their fans, following this band has been so much more than just the music for me. Throughout college, I had the opportunity to see Dream Theater several times, each show proving to be somehow even better than the last, both musically and personally. Now that I have graduated and begin to make my way in the world, your music will continue to be an inspiration and a guide for me in every possible sense.
Dream Theater, as a band, as music, as a holistic personality, will always mean so much to me and so many countless others. I thank each and every member of the band for your tireless contributions to music and proving that you can do what you love and give the world something wonderful in the process. May many more years be on the horizon!