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Thoughts from a Musician's Heart

LEGACY by Jocelyn Goranson

I often listen to our local public radio station. It's on while I'm doing the dishes, driving to work, having my afternoon tea... It's a true music lovers station with very little talk, news, or other non-musical programming, which is part of the reason I enjoy it so much.

Every evening, starting at 6pm, the jazz show begins. I happen to be an orchestral musician, but I love jazz. It's like a foreign language to me in some ways - I catch little phrases here and there, admire the beauty of it, and enjoy being immersed in it. While not personally "fluent", my limited ability to communicate makes up for itself in my deep appreciation of jazz. Last month I learned that the host of the evening jazz show, who is 88 years old and has been working in media for 57 years, decided to step down from his evening host responsibilities to enjoy a bit of his retirement. His final show was to be the evening of June 30. As a family, we planned ahead to make it an event. We gathered around our mid-century Zenith radio console, brought in a tray of buttered toast with jam on a tea cart, and sat with our boys (ages 12 and 13) to listen to his final evening broadcast. My husband (far more versed in jazz than I) was able to communicate some jazz history to our boys as we listened. We spent time without conversation, followed by sharing what we noticed. I accessed the radio station's social media page and read aloud comments left by numerous fans, recounting stories of how the radio host had touched their lives over the years. He is clearly brilliant, beloved, and a true gentleman. What a legacy! It got me thinking about the word "legacy". This radio host will never know how he has impacted my life over the years I've listened to his show. How many others out there will say the same about him? Too often as musicians we can slip into the day-in/day-out grind of practice and performance. We meet a young fan after a concert, we smile, and we graciously accept a compliment; then we return home to all the "ordinary" things on our to-do lists, forgetting the little encounters we had along the way. We never know the full impact of our musicianship or our conversation. Perhaps that is a blessing, meant to keep us humble. The same can be said with sharing our faith, offering words of encouragement, praying for those who are hurting, or helping those who are in need. A simple gesture, quickly forgotten by us, may make an impact that is eternal. Continue to allow God to use you in all these beautiful ways. He knows the big picture, the full story, and how all the pieces fit together. This is a legacy worth the investment.


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