A note from Steve...
Steve Zocchi, Music Director
Despite the perpetual barrage of stress in the news these days, I have never been more optimistic about the future of humanity. Not out of naiveté, but because I have no choice. I have three young children. I have to be optimistic that technology will save us from climate change. I have to be hopeful that the next generation will solve the problems that my own generation (myself included) is too self-involved and busy to solve. I have to believe that artificial intelligence will be less myopic than human beings and will intercede on our behalf. I must trust that love will overwhelm hate, and that ultimately humanity will thrive as long as there is light in the universe. I have no choice.
But there is real reason for optimism. Our children. They are smarter, more adapted to technology and change, more accepting of others, and more resilient than any generation ever. Evolution is working, there is no doubt in my mind. Even from a mere musical standpoint I feel optimism. Each generation ridicules the music of their parents and then derides the music of subsequent generations. This has been happening since the beginning. (Late 18th century musicians referred to the music of their immediate predecessors as “pigtail music”; pointing to the conservative wigs they wore). But the young humans today have unfettered access to ALL music. They can hear the greatest orchestras in the world performing humanity’s greatest musical achievements, on their phones, as easily as they can hear the popular music of today. And musical tastes are so fragmented and eclectic that it is now “cool” to listen to obscure musical offerings, including from other cultures. As a music teacher I see first hand an openness to all music that I didn't see even ten years ago. Furthermore, popular music of today is not really any worse than the stuff I was listening to as a kid. I don’t like most of it, but it’s not worse. And just as certainly as older generations are not better than later ones, the current youth will not be better than their children. There is reason for optimism.
Non sequitur: These days I am feeling especially grateful for my job at First Parish. The work fulfills what seems to be an existential need in my heart. And the people, and even the place itself, feel like friends I have known forever. The first time I ever walked into First Parish I instantly felt comfortable and at home. I knew right away I wanted to be here. (And that was for the job interview!) . During the most stressful of life’s moments, my mood instantly lightens when I walk into this building. It makes me smile every time. I imagine many of you feel the same way. The truth is, if I weren’t music director at First Parish, I’d be a parishioner here. Every Sunday my optimism is renewed again. Every Sunday, no matter what is in the news, my optimism is renewed.
Your Music Director,