Old friend, we miss you! It has been ages since we spoke and I wanted to Phil you in on the Gap! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Ed, would you believe that it has been twenty-nine years since we started the Celebration of the Arts? Amazing! It seems like only yesterday when you, Rick Chamberlain and I looked at the array of talented jazz musicians lined up on the Deer Head Inn bandstand, waiting to jam. There were so many, they were spilling out through the screen door behind the piano and the porch looked like the IRT at rush hour! And when the fateful words were uttered, I forget by whom: "We could have a helluva festival if we moved it outside."
So the next year we did, and a helluva festival it has become. Our local artists, many with international credentials, measure their yearly artistic growth by this local Rosetta stone. They always bring their best dishes to our lavish artistic table.
Every year some friends are lost and we all move up a little closer to the head of the line, richer for having known and loved them. Our most important work goes well. I know how much you value young people - like the time you put a chair in the middle of Main street to slow down the nuts that speed through our town and endanger everyone. You would be proud of the work that Pat Dorian does with the young musicians who enliven our lives and area. The COTA Cats are not only an integral part of our program, thay are the keystone of our community!
Our growth can also be measured in the amount of snow-fence that we have accumulated through the years. Bob Lehr loved discussing snow-fence at meetings. Anyway, we now have enough to seal both the Mexican and Canadian borders! I sleep better knowing this!
Some folks still don't have a clue as to what is going on here. Some quarters hold that the committee is getting rich from the Festival. I know I can always use the $100 bucks I get for performing! The other day someone asked why the same groups appear year after year. I told her it was because they lived here and were festival supporters, a requisite to performing here. She was surprised at this. Strange! It's been twenty-eight years and some are still waiting for Kenny G.
Stay well old friend and enjoy your new company. I'll keep you posted on the COTA Cats 28th - that should be a helluva party!
P.S. Wherever you are, please lobby for good weather.