“It’s the one thing we can do, you know. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a rescue worker. All I can do is provide something for people to hold on to.”
This is what the pianist, Emanuel Ax, said to me during an interview when he was in town to play a concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the aftermath of 9/11. I thought about what he’d said when listeners called us at WBJC to thank us for being there and for playing beautiful music during that grim time.
And I’ve been thinking about it now, in these unprecedented coronavirus times, when you have contacted us to thank us for being here. It is, as Emanuel Ax said, the one thing we do, to provide something for people to hold on to. It is a privilege to be in the studio keeping you company, as you keep us company, while we all try to make sense of concepts like social distancing and flattening the curve. It makes me realize how much we are family at WBJC, connected by this one thing we all love: beautiful music, which is contagious and goes viral in a good way.
The WBJC announcers have each been given these official looking federal forms declaring that we are providing “support to critical communications infrastructure.” Each day, as I leave my husband and his feline co-worker to drive along the strangely deserted streets to work, I certainly don’t feel “critical” in the sense that health providers or first responders are, but there is no doubt in my mind that communication, music, and the arts in general are critical during life-changing times. Just think of the power of Leonard Bernstein conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony six weeks after the Berlin Wall came down! So, thank you for being there, for your support, and for sharing this glorious music with us on WBJC, at this time and always.