This time of year I find myself attending many public events to mark and celebrate student accomplishments and transitions: award ceremonies, banquets, graduations. Due to my position, experience, reputation, (age? time of life?) – for whatever reason, I am increasingly being asked to speak at some of these events.
I always wonder what I should say. What do people want to hear? Why would anyone take my word for it?
At a ceremony I attended this week, several teachers – who were giving out awards to graduating seniors – gave what they described as unsolicited advice to those assembled, and I thought about what I believe it would be important to tell others about how to live their lives, if I were the sort of person who felt the impulse to do this.
This is what I came up with, on short notice.
This year’s annual Side By Side Concert featuring the combined forces of Curb Youth Symphony and the Nashville Symphony on the stage of Laura Turner Hall took place on Tuesday, May 7. Curb Youth Symphony is directed by Carol Nies, and this year’s Side By Side event was conducted by Nashville Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez. As always, we enjoyed sharing our symphony home with many of Middle Tennessee’s most accomplished teenage musicians, as they rehearsed and performed alongside our own Nashville Symphony musicians at this eagerly anticipated special event.
Today is the one-hundredth birthday of the American musician and activist Pete Seeger – Pete was born on May 3, 1919 in Manhattan. Like all Americans, whether we are aware of it or not, Pete’s life and work has had a profound effect on me, and I am grateful. When he finally left us a little over five years ago at the age of 94, Pete had accumulated a lasting legacy of using music to create positive change in the world that few musicians – or anyone else – can claim to have achieved. We are all so lucky to have shared the world with him.
I was also incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to perform on stage with him at children’s concerts for Fieldston Outdoors in the early 1990s. Thank you, Pete.