They say to be an expert you need to come from a distance away. I was an expert once. I moved here from Montana in 1977. Now I don’t know much. I haven’t been an expert for almost 40 years.
But having spent my youth in California, I got to know some people who could be experts right where they lived. I knew Albert King and Charley Musselwhite, a couple legendary blues musicians.
Life is too short to ever miss a Municipal Band concert in Hampton. Chris Sauke and the band are experts right here, bringing composer’s works to life in a place that just seems made for it. The talent doesn’t stop there. Featured soloists and small groups serve up the icing on the cake of these weekly concerts we share as a community.
One thing that occurred to me as I bopped along to a march last Tuesday was how this scene wasn’t unique at all. All over the world there are communities sharing their talents, taking some time from their efforts at survival to enjoy the talents of friends and neighbors.
The opening act Tuesday night was the Sarah Dunn Band. I couldn’t get off work early enough to hear them. I noticed that they were packing up and driving off as the Municipal Band played. That’s too bad. I know Albert King or Charley Musselwhite would have never walked out on the acts for who they opened. They would have stayed to show respect for fellow musicians and perhaps learn something.
I have to admit, I’m no fan of the commercial formulaic brand of country music popular today but I hold nothing against it. After all, I believe the market is the best way to determine winners and losers. Maybe I’m just a crotchety old man remembering the good old days but I think I’m not all wrong. Lack of respect is making this a less enjoyable world. I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who noticed Ms. Dunn’s band’s lack of interest in our hometown musicians.
Maybe that is what professional musicians have become. I hear a lot of complaints about the “all about me” attitude. And I think it has a lot to do with the squeeze that the welfare / warfare state is putting on ordinary people. So much spending is no longer directed by the market that all the inefficiencies have stagnated the economy in unseen ways. To make up for that people must cut corners and it is manifested in rudeness.
To buck that trend let’s continue to resist the temptation to hurriedly dismiss the efforts of our neighbors. I don’t care if I’m no longer an expert. I like it here.