There are wonderful perks to working from home. When I’m not teaching piano and guitar via Zoom and FaceTime, and when I’m not doing First Parish work, I spend real quality time with my kids. I know that not everybody is so lucky, and I try to count my blessings constantly. But the time I’ve spent with my kids over these recent few weeks has been the highlight of my life thus far. I am getting an entirely new perspective on the development on these incredible little beings. It is so much easier to gain insight into the workings of young brains when one stops wasting energy with life’s more superfluous activities. And that is the best silver-lining of all...learning what really matters.

I’m sure for other people the silver-linings are different: perhaps learning how to be alone, or learng how to win the sobering battle against fear and anxiety, learning how to mitigate one’s impact on the environment after this is all over, learning how to keep one’s empathy even when it’s difficult to do so, or even just learning how to be perfectly patient. I know I need to learn these things.

And there are musical silver-linings. I’ve been working on making a gratitude list, and it has grown into pages of the obvious gratitudes: family, health, food and shelter, meaningful work, technology, First Parish friends and colleagues, etc. But as life begins to feel more and more secure, I’m finding my mind re-expanding to fit musical-gratitudes. For example, having access to a beautiful Yamaha C3 piano in my house is an unbelievable gift. Also, having a guitar to hug is profoundly reassuring. My ultimate musical-gratitude though, is the seemingly unlimited amount of extremely high quality music composed by some of the greatest minds humanity has ever generated: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Clara Schumann, and Bill Evans. (There are so many more names). Each of these geniuses had the work-ethic, generosity, and fortitude to study and compose music at the highest levels ever achieved by our species. And most of them endured living conditions which would make me cry with self-pity. Gratitude for these historical role-models fills my heart.
But if I had to name one musical-gratitude that feeds my soul the most, it is knowing that I have the privilege of being Music Director for First Parish; knowing that my music gets to the ears and minds in this, the most wonderful community I have ever known. Thank you.

Your Music Director, Steve

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