Life without music.
Millions of seniors, alongside millions of physically and developmentally disabled adults and children. Audiences starved; tucked away in facilities across America that Alice and I refer to as Community Venues(tm).
Systematically ignored day after month after year after decade by today’s self-proclaimed “starving artists”.
And perhaps the most puzzling, and at times nauseating, thing for me…? That would be the fact that these fine folks are looked down upon as “charity audiences”. “Poor them”… They’re not considered artistically viable; artistically equal.
After a decade of advocating on their behalf locally I gave it up in the formal sense. Ten years of being told “What a good thing you do Greg. I’m going to come play for them soon.” But they never did.
But during those same ten years I watched them answer the call to come play on stages to raise money for hurricane, tsunami, and earthquake victims half a nation, or half a world, away. I even watched them play at fundraisers for Community Venue residents affected by Alzheimer’s or cancer or what have you. Musicians will gladly play at an event that is “about” poor them, or “on behalf of” poor them.
Because musicians care, you know. Not enough to actually drop by and mingle with them, mind you. But, at some level, the musicians say they care.
These days I rarely invite musicians to come and “be the change you sing of seeing in your world”, because I am tired of hearing that they don’t have time. As though time resides inside their cell phone, telling them what to do and when to do it.
But I know from years of mystifying firsthand experience that if a tsunami or an earthquake or a hurricane should come along and knock down The Cedars or Colonnades in Charlottesville, the musicians would rally. They would find time – make time – and they would drive to Staunton or Richmond, and play a benefit concert far, far away from them.
And they and the media would be damn sure to make you aware of what wonderful, caring, compassionate people they are.
Oh my heart…