I used to do a lot of travelling (35,000 frequent flier miles one year*) teaching classes on a new software technology. Yeah I’m a nerd but at least I got to see a lot of the world on someone else’s dime. One of the offices where the students gathered was in Vélizy-Villacoublay,  a suburb of Paris, so at the end of the last day of class we hit the big town for dinner and drinks. We ended up on the balcony at Le Café Richelieu inside the Louvre (yeah, it was epic) and after way too much food and with the assistance of a steady flow of wine (that was also epic), we got to talking about where we grew up. There were at least five countries represented in the group and the stories of little towns and big cities throughout Europe were absolutely fascinating.

I grew up in the eastern part of the US so when when my turn came up I described the changing of the leaves with the seasons and how people came from all over to see the outrageous colors. Amazingly, not a single person had heard of this and one girl from the UK (who had known me long enough to be familiar with my somewhat warped sense of humor) was certain I was making it all up (I sent her some postcards of maple trees in their full glory and she apologized and was blown away by it). This was a theme as all of us learned things that were a complete surprise and I went back to my hotel with a smile as I remembered how much I enjoyed the evening.

That’s also what the Windward Choral Society is about. How many audience members have heard the music of Kenya for the first time at one of our concerts? Or Romania? Or Norway? Or any one of the other dozens of languages and cultures that we’ve explored and performed. If you ask me, this is more than just entertainment. It’s exciting and enlightening and educational. It’s important. In a world where so many people seem to isolate themselves in the comfortable little cocoon of their lives, refusing to lift up their heads and look around, it’s a window to the rest of the world and a hint of the riches out there.

And we do it all for free, sharing the music with anybody who wants to listen and explore a little bit of the world that they may know nothing about (until they experience the it through us).

Which is why we have the Joy of Music every two years. Which is why you and your friends should make a point of circling November 19th on your calendar and getting tickets early for a great evening of jazz and a killer silent auction. I’ll see you there!

(* I just saw on the news the other night that the UH Rainbow Warrior football team traveled a little over 19,000 miles in under two weeks to play their first two games. Honolulu- Sydney, Australia – Honolulu – Ann Arbor, MI – Honolulu. Wow.)