How wonderful it is to have summer productions of any sort. During the awful year of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns, there were no such performances. Community festivals were cancelled. Even the local community band never got to play. This summer, I’ve enjoyed a number of performances by accomplished musicians at our Outdoor Theater and at the James Cultural Plaza. I recall one time years ago leaning back in my chair, looking up at the sky as stars began to twinkle, hearing the music, enjoying a light breeze, and sensing a feeling of harmony with my fellowman and with nature. I remember well the thought that came to me, “There is magic.” Alas, politics and pandemics have tarnished that feeling for many people. For me, as well, until the other evening, when I listened to several Philharmonic groups, specifically the Freimann Quartet and Wind Quintet.
I attend these little summer concerts and performances when I can, and the fact that “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” had to be postponed from Dec. to July because of the pandemic, I went to see Excelsior’s production. It takes effort to practice, haul equipment, and set up a stage. It must have been horrible to perform wearing winter attire on that hot stage, but the young people did it well. Kudos to them and to the adults who worked with them!
And so July has come and gone, and children are gearing up for school and teachers are preparing their lessons. In my day, by this time during the summer, I would have read a couple of books, but my grandchildren now have read more. But have they read the classics? My friend Steve bemoans the fact that his grandson who will go into the eighth grade has not heard of Mark Twain. “What do they read?” he asked.
My daughter said at a Christmas party she attempted to make conversation with a man who seemed taken with himself because he and his wife had trekked the Santiago de Compostela across northern Portugal. Being interested, she asked him if he’d read Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST. to which he replied, “I don’t read.” In Coelho’s story, the Andalusian shepherd searched for his Personal Legend and learned his quest was to be found where he started. Sometimes our best experiences may very well begin and end on a local stage. Sometimes magical realism happens, even Christmas in July.