Letter From the Director

John Gilbreath smiling in front of jazz art poster

The Month of May….or May not

Normally on this page, at this time of year, we’d be talking about longer, warmer days, lush growth, and a full schedule of summer music festivals; on top of which we’d have a healthy two pages of Jazz Around the Sound calendar listings. Thank God that the warmth, the beauty, and the music are still here, because everything else is upside down. Just one month ago already feels like last year, and the future itself is suddenly provisional, rather than probable.

The complexity of social distancing under these dire circumstances is beginning to play out in small and large ways all around us; even without the daily political circus. On the one hand, having to be physically distant in the middle of a shared historical experience, somehow makes us feel more connected; on the other, and I think we’re all feeling this to some extent, we’ve been introduced to a whole new way to perceive ourselves as individuals at risk, and to frame our own mortality and our own survival in a more singular and tangible light. In the end, we have to live and die alone, but mostly we don’t have to think about it every day. As Agnes Cal­lard also said last month, “The End is not actually here, but the thought of it certainly is.”

No, you didn’t pick up a copy of Psychology Today. I’m just trying to work through this mess, like everyone else. I could blow some sunshine, but, mostly, I’m not feeling it, and I imagine that you can relate. We’ve never been here before, and we don’t have anyone to show us a way through. Be­ing an artist in a creative community or being engaged in work that aligns with our personal values, is great, but it doesn’t help when both the wolves and the reaper are at the door.

Social distancing, online binging, and a living with “clear and present danger,” are probably pushing us too much into our own heads. But I imagine that all of the healthcare and human services workers, God bless them, are probably not struggling with existential dilemmas right now. There is definitely work to be done, and we are all in service.

Thanks to our editorial team, Tara and Lucienne, for believing that this magazine can be in better service in our community by being connected to it more organically. Where you see the print distribution of Earshot Jazz is a bit thinner than usual this month, you’ll see the earshot.org site becoming more robust, with enhanced connections to the experiences and expressions of the artists, educators, and many “worthy constituents” of this community.

We wish you well. Each of you.

John Gilbreath, Executive Director


Posted on

May 5, 2020