March 7, 2020. It was the day of the Sullivan County All-County Musical Festival, a chance for the county’s brightest and best young musicians to come together to perform their hearts out in …
March 7, 2020. It was the day of the Sullivan County All-County Musical Festival, a chance for the county’s brightest and best young musicians to come together to perform their hearts out in front of friends and family.
It was also the last time I would spend among a crowd of people for more than a year, the last time I would spend among a crowd of people without a mask on for even longer.
Saturday was March 5, 2022. Nearly two years to the day later, our local music educators brought more than 160 young musicians back together for the Sullivan County All-County Music Festival.
I entered the auditorium as a photographer on assignment for the Democrat and also as a proud parent of one of the musicians (pardon the humble brag), and as the music swelled on the first song, so did my heart.
When you’re photographing people — or anything really — it’s vitally important that you keep your camera steady in your hands. It’s hard enough to do when you’re as short as I am and holding 20 pounds of camera gear while standing on your tippy toes to get a good angle in the wings of a concert, and working with all your might not to lose your balance and send your entire body crashing through the barriers and onto the stage, disrupting the entire concert.
Now add in the emotions of finally seeing your child and dozens of others enjoying one of the most normal moments of their young lives that they’ve had in years, and it’s a wonder this paper has photos to print from me this week!
Over the years researchers have been able to glean enough data to tell us that music education helps our kids with everything from language development to memory improvement, mental processing to problem solving.
But seeing the grins of my kid, of these other young oboists, saxophonists, clarinet players and percussionists, hearing the chatter and laughter of the teenagers as they exited the auditorium after playing their hearts out, I was reminded that it offers them so much more. There’s a camaraderie too, and a chance to stand out at something they’re good at.
COVID tried to take all of this from our kids and more, but slowly, surely, it’s coming back.
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