Everyone must be thinking about the things they will miss this year on Thanksgiving. At our house, it’s a weekend-long gathering of old friends who come here from the city to eat and drink too much and make music. They are people we know from playing chamber music, and for six years running we planned and rehearsed a concert program for the residents at Heatherwood in Yarmouth Port, where Teresa’s parents live, and performed it for them on the day after Thanksgiving. We call ourselves the Black Friday Chamber Players.
The Heatherwood folks are the best kind of audience: attentive, perceptive, honestly delighted, and overflowing with gratitude. I will miss my old friends this year, and the music, but especially the chance to have that give and take with a larger group and to show others the pleasure we derive from our encounters with Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Dvorak.
There will be no Black Friday concert this year, of course, and no crowded Thanksgiving table. But there are still many reasons for gratitude. We still have hope for a better year ahead, for deliverance from the pandemic and from the toxic torrent of unbearable news that has brought us so close to despair for the last four years.
And we have found another circle of talented and generous friends, and another audience to connect with: the readers of the Indie.
What an ensemble has come together at the newspaper, and what a remarkable array of instruments they play. Some of these virtuosos you are certainly aware of from reading their stories and taking in their photographs and illustrations week after week. The sensational work of others, like our graphic design team, may be less obvious to those who haven’t tried to do it themselves. I hesitate to start naming them; there are so many.
Listening to this journalistic philharmonic at work, I am reminded of the one time in my life when I conducted an actual orchestra. It was an open audition for the position of conductor of a student orchestra in college, and I got to conduct a movement of a Mozart symphony.
The greatest revelation of that experience was that, standing on the podium, I could hear every single player distinctly, individually. The sensation was overwhelming. I didn’t get the conductor’s job, but it left me with an indelible memory.
In the weekly crush of deadlines and minor crises, I invariably forget to stop and thank the people who are making this enterprise work. And so, I say this to each of you now: I hear the part you are playing in this song to our readers, and I am stunned by its beauty. Happy Thanksgiving.