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September 2021

I’ve always liked this story….

There was an old a farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "May be," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "May be," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "May be," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "May be," said the farmer.

 

As I see it, the moral of the story is that we can never fully predict the consequences of events as they unfold.

Who would have thought that eighteen months ago we’d be afraid to leave our houses, that we would sterilize each item from the grocery store shopping bag before bringing it into the house, that all the places where we would normally meet to share joy and delight would be shuttered for the next year? Our beautiful Unity Hall was mighty dark and lonely during that time, despite our response of broadcasting 26 virtual weekly shows on the website. During that lockdown a plumbing problem at the back of the upstairs auditorium leaked water onto the floor and consequently against the walls and well onto the floors in the rooms below it. With the building empty, this went undetected for some time and quite a bit of damage was done. A terrible discovery! Well, yes, but the insurance company and the selfless work efforts of some of our friends contributed to a complete facelift for the floors, some of the walls, and the downstairs ceiling. The work has been completed and the results are stunning. The onset of summer weather, with its outdoor options brought cause for further celebration. The evil virus seemed to be on the run, and people were already returning to their old social patterns. Of course, as we learned soon after, there was another sinister chapter of the virus story about to unfold, and once again we are encouraged to be vigilant about our choices.

The days are getting shorter. Pretty soon the nights will get colder and we’ll put the flannel sheets back on the bed. These are things that we’re sure of. If only all our choices were dictated by such certainties. But as the above tale tells, we can never be entirely certain of the consequences of our circumstances. One beacon of light is that the experience of live music provides a powerful lift to our spirits when we need it most. We all knew that, but it was never put to such a test, and unknowingly we always considered it a diversion more than a powerful remedy. With that in mind, it is a privilege to welcome you back to live performance in Unity Hall’s wonderful upside-down whaling vessel of an auditorium. Everything is subject to change of course. And we have chosen to put new attendance guidelines in place that not everyone will find agreeable. Most notable, proof of vaccination will now be required for admittance to our concerts. That wasn’t an easy decision but it seems like the most responsible path forward, and it is not without regrets for our friends that disagree with such a policy.

Here's what we start with: On Friday, October 15th Unity Hall welcomes the   touring group The Linda Ronstadt Experience, featuring their impressive lead vocalist Tristan McIntosh. I could go into detail about their credentials, the important venues they’ve performed in, how great the band is, and how much Tristan’s vocals evoke memories of Linda Ronstadt’s triumphant career without any deliberate imitation of her (she doesn’t try to sound like Ronstadt, she just does!). Instead, take a few minutes and watch them on this Youtube video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFq-rFRumNI. This young woman is remarkable.

On Saturday night, November 20, we’ll finally get a chance to enjoy the wonderful Annie and Marie Burns and their band, a.k.a. The Burns Sisters, from Ithaca, New York (they were supposed to play last year). The Burns Sisters have been through many different configurations over the years. They started as a trio. At one time, all five sisters sang together. For a time, Marie and Annie followed their hearts to Ireland where they played established music festivals in the West of Ireland. But Annie and Marie aren’t just Irish music performers. They’re equally at home with rock and blues and beautiful folk ballads. The Burns Sisters have shared the stage with many great music legends, including Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Janis Ian, Chris Thile, and Willie Nelson.  

This is as far into the calendar as we dare to go at this time, but it’s an exciting start. Please consider joining us for these events. Think about buying your tickets soon as we plan to slightly reduce the seating capacity for these shows. Give yourself a little extra time when you arrive for the show. And then be prepared to relax for the resumption of Unity Hall’s next exciting musical season.