Suspended gratitude



A snowy, glistening day in a land of rolling hills and purposefully winding roads, wind and hail blustering hither and thither, has me pondering forwards and backwards...

This magical place on any other day bustles with what once seemed to this northern transplant, an aspirational New Yorker at that, uncanny good-naturedness. Who waves to their neighbors anymore, even strangers! Yet they do, without irony. (I mean we...?) 

Today branches of icicle-laden pine trees overpowered the pathways of electricity and cut a slice out of the continuum. Coerced back into the 19th century, the century of Beethoven and Chopin, of letters and printed books, the coating of the internet disappeared and gave way to a few precious hours of angels in the snow.  

It got me thinking about the simpler truths of life, the good things. And gratitude.

It's been just over seven years since we bundled up our sparse belongings and oversized concert grand from a tiny flat on the edge of Harlem, headed south. What gave us the nerve or insanity to start an orchestra in the middle of the countryside I can't say. Just about everyone I knew said it was folly. And they were of course right. We'd seen Pinehurst on a brief afternoon drive-by, and it beckoned. It made sense.

In the meantime, as time continued to accelerate, this fledgling orchestra without an audience somehow grew into a part of the landscape, as if it had grown up among the pine trees and sand hills. And I take it for granted now.

But not today. Today was a slice of gratitude.

Maybe what I love about music is that it stops time just like that. It defies gravity and momentum and carves out its own space and meaning. And it never seems to take the bounty of its gifts for granted; or rather, it doesn't allow us to. It coerces a sharp, cool inhalation of gratitude, of eternity, of now...


A slice out of time also grants a glimpse into the future.

What's next for the Philharmonic? How will we grow? If we've come this far in seven short years, what will the next seven or fourteen bring? I'm poised for an adventure.

Thank you for being a part of the first leg of this journey. You are why we're here and why we keep moving forward.

And I'm grateful.

David Michael Wolff