I, for one, am not interested in anything I have to say during this pandemic. I feel like I know nothing. I have found myself absolutely pestered by the constant barrage of heart-felt music by well-meaning musicians on every possible digital platform. I only want to hear from scientists and doctors and maybe the occasional local leader. Perhaps because music is work for me, I am finding very little solace in watching others making it. I realize some people have a lot of time on their hands right now. Those people aren’t blessed to be living with three young children. Like many of you, trying to juggle work obligations with sudden full-time childcare leaves me in an untenable position. I find myself rapidly losing weight as I forget to eat or drink. I’m sure many of you are experiencing similar changes. Basic self-care is suddenly a luxury which seems downright selfish. The juxtaposition of anxiously sanitizing groceries and creating music is totally unnatural. The safe psychological space in which art is born has been shattered by rage at our situation. And keeping up the phone calls to my elderly parents, each otherwise essentially totally alone, has become an almost impossible challenge.

And yet the pressure keeps coming... more and more each day; Suggestions of what to do with one’s kids with all this “extra time”, and videos of music ensembles magically performing together using technology in ways I have never studied. So I spend fruitless time each day, apparently abandoning the piano, trying to figure out ways I can keep helping to foster the love of music, using technology I have deliberately avoided so that I could become the musician I am today. (I’ve noticed my run-on sentences running on even longer and with more frequent digressions, as if I actually have something to say which I don’t.) And here’s a humorous consideration... musicians are actually the most selfish people in the world. We only want to practice our instruments. We want an audience, not so much so that we can comfort people, but because performing is the only actual manifestation of our efforts and our love. I see through the unknowing charade of so many of my musician colleagues as they obtusely deny their own obsolescence with impromptu performances meant to cure our broken hearts. They are trying to make themselves feel better, which, though completely understandable, does not sit comfortably in my mind as I worry about future security for my loved ones. I’m sure some of you can relate to this.

No, I’m not interested in what any artist of any kind has to say right now. I twitch with each electronic communication. So I am trying to limit the emails I send to people so that I do not add to the noise. I’ve noticed people not acknowledging emails and texts anyway. I don’t blame them. And I’ve found that it’s possible to be very productive without disrupting the necessary actions of others. It’s a balancing act. We will be back, in force, when the time comes. I look forward to that day, and will work continuously to get there.

And, of course there are immediate silver linings. There are always silver linings. For example, we now see how quickly the planet will start healing itself as our polluting is decreased. We see the heroic efforts of our essential workers from medical professionals to cashiers. We see how people come together, albeit virtually, to care for each other. We see people using music, maybe way too much, to soothe fears and insecurity. We see people becoming tougher and more hardy as they acclimate to an unknown future. And let’s face it, we are so fortunate if we have our physical needs met. We are rich in so many ways, whether we know it or not. Also important in my little opinion, is that we see humor being used to try to understand this once-in-a-century reset. As for comfort...I recommend listening to Bach and Mozart. Only the absolute best music suits our needs. I miss you all so much.

Your Music Director, Steve


Previous Music Notes

It is hard to believe that February is behind us already. Spring is around the corner. Time begins its annual acceleration, pulling us all too quickly through these next few precious months. Let’s be sure to enjoy them, and each other, and truly savor this time. And there are so many wonderful things to look forward to along the way. 

Please join us for the third concert on the fifth season of our First Parish Concert Series on Saturday March 14th at 4:00; proceeds to benefit First Parish. It will be an eclectic concert featuring the super-skilled Tervos, many guest performers, and myself. It will be a lovely afternoon of Chamber music. 

I look forward to Easter. I cherish the service every Sunday, but I can’t wait for Music Appreciation Sunday on May 17th. 

As always, I appreciate the efforts of all our First Parish musicians. All the choirs are working hard and sounding great. And I appreciate your voice as well. Remember, if you have interest in any of the choirs, or any questions, I hope you feel comfortable reaching out to me. 

On a personal note, an extra thank you to those who came out to my concert for Piano Heritage Series on February 16th. It was such fun, and it meant so much more to me because my First Parish family was there. You warm my heart. Thank you. 

Your Music Director, Steve