It’s New Years Eve and I am feeling nostalgic and reflective. There are so many things that I am aware of missing as we close out this year. At the top of the list is spending time with my daughter and her family. FaceTime and occasional ZOOMs keep us connected, but do not replace the hugs and kisses of my granddaughters. I miss the family celebrations, going to school events, having my girls spend the night. I miss just being in their company.
Not too far behind, I miss getting together with my dulcimer group, The Picky Chics and Chaps. For the last 10 years, until COVID, this group has been the center of my social life. We played music together just about every Saturday - for hours. Our mother hen, Sheryl Chapman, will forever be appreciated for the wonderful community she gathered around her and her husband, Greg, with their home being the heart of the action. Every Saturday Sheryl pushed her furniture out of the way to make room for a group that sometimes grew to 40+ people. Sheryl fussed over us and served us wonderful food. Greg made great coffee. The love of music pulled us together. You could not ask for a nicer group of kind, happy people to spend time with. The comfort and cheer I found in this group was the inspiration for Send in the Music.
When COVID hit, and it was no longer safe to get together in person, rather than lose our community, I quickly jumped on the ZOOM wagon. I knew little about it but saw it as a way to stay connected. And while it is not the same as meeting in person our Picky Chic and Chap weekly ZOOM meetings -just to chat - have kept us involved in each other’s lives. We knew about Rich’s wrist surgery, how Molly got a black eye, Lowell’s heart attack followed by by-pass surgery. We shared the birth of Chris’ first grandchild, and celebrated her retirement.
And our weekly Send in the Music ZOOM Jams, have kept us playing our dulcimers. In fact, our community of musicians has grown to encompass new friends from across the United States, Canada, and Europe. It is a wonder to me that ZOOM could provide the means to not only keep a community alive, but enhance, and trigger its growth. We’ve met new dulcimer celebrities, and attended on-line music classes and festivals that we would never have gone to but for the social distancing resulting from COVID.
Tonight we say good-bye to 2020 and look to 2021 with hope that we will get back to “normal,” I never thought I would say this, but I hope we can keep cultivating the expanded music community that has been forged as a result of this difficult year.