Letter: Music connects us to history and one another

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To the editor:

My good friend, a history buff, loaned me this book: "Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made A Nation." The authors are well-known: Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw. Their mission: "to hear the music that lifted us from danger, kept us together amid tragedy; united us anew in triumph, and urged us on toward justice. From our earliest times to our latest we hear not only the spoken but the sung word, and the music of the nation reminds us where we've been, who we are — and what we can become." Meachem and McGraw explain the intermingling of the "music of patriotism" and the "music of protest" in relation to our U.S. history of revolution, war, peace, slavery, poverty, racism, tragedy and recovery.

I found myself responding emotionally to these history lessons. If felt exciting to follow these defining parts of our history and the popular songs associated with those times — some strong and triumphant, some tender and sad.

And, so, this year 2020, the year of the COVID-19 virus, will go down in history. For some period of time, we will be unable to hear and see the Tanglewood symphonies and special performers, and unable to see our favorite athletes and teams play ball, and unable to sing in a chorus of friends in churches or temples or at celebrations. But music will find its place in helping us cope with this changing time. Music will connect us with our history, and with each other.

Dick Noble,




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