Will we con­tinue to make mu­sic to­gether?

The Covington News - - Opinion -

I had the dis­tin­guished priv­i­lege this week to at­tend a Spring Con­cert fea­tur­ing the New­ton County Com­mu­nity Band pre­sented by the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion. I must ex­press to you that this group is a must see for all who live, love and learn in New­ton County. The pre­vi­ous sen­tence is not a mis­print. While it is im­por­tant for you to hear the band, I think it is most press­ing for us to see the band. It is in­clu­sive of black, white, brown as well as the young, and the not so young. I was com­pletely in­spired by the most di­verse gath­er­ing of gen­er­a­tions, pro­fes­sion­als, races and faith that I have ever seen in th­ese parts. Most cer­tainly, they make beau­ti­ful mu­sic to­gether, un­der the di­rec­tion of Mr. Ti­mothy K. Adams.

Mr. Adams, along with his lovely wife fol­lowed by a world renowned son, sim­ply moved to New­ton County more than 50 years ago with the as­sump­tion that they were only pass­ing through. To­day, they are both liv­ing leg­ends in this com­mu­nity for all the right rea­sons.

Some­how over the course of those decades they came to love where they lived and la­bored, as they were ul­ti­mately, uniquely em­braced by those who lived here sub­se­quent to their ar­rival. I shut­ter to think of what New­ton County would look like with­out their con­tri­bu­tion.

Cer­tainly, times have changed and with that the de­mo­graph­ics of our county. I’ve la­bored in this com­mu­nity for al­most nine years and I have seen dra­matic changes. I’m sure for many of those who pre-date my ar­rival th­ese changes are viewed with vary­ing de­grees of con­ster­na­tion and con­cern.

Need­less to say, the cul­tural dis­tance sep­a­rat­ing new and old have had a tremen­dous im­pact through­out the county. In spite of the great har­mony that took place at the East­side High School au­di­to­rium on Mon­day night, I am con­cerned about our abil­ity to make mu­sic to­gether go­ing for­ward. If our pres­i­den­tial pri­maries, the gen­eral pub­lic dis­course and our private con­ver­sa­tions are any in­di­ca­tion, we must ad­mit that our his­tor­i­cal past has resur­faced once again and with it our prej­u­dices, in­tol­er­ance, ig­no­rance and in­dif­fer­ence.

Un­for­tu­nately, our com­mu­ni­ties are draw­ing con­clu­sions about each other based upon sound bites and stereo­types. In a cli­mate like this, how do we have gen­uine di­a­logue about race? How do we stop white flight? How do we elim­i­nate black in­dif­fer­ence? How do we ad­dress big­otry in ways that do not leave us torn apart? Does any­one care about racial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion?

We can be self righ­teous and blame the traf­fic woes, crowded schools or a rise in crime; how­ever, my gut tells me that we will only be talk­ing around the prob­lem. There is a herd of pink ele­phants roam­ing the streets of our com­mu­nity and they will not go away. I en­cour­age all who read this ar­ti­cle to join the clergy of this com­mu­nity at the Cov­ing­ton Square on Thurs­day at 7 p.m. as we ob­serve the Na­tional Day of Prayer. Let’s call an end to white flight and black in­dif­fer­ence. The fact is we all came to New­ton County for the same rea­sons: beauty, ed­u­ca­tion, op­por­tu­nity, faith, fam­ily and the fu­ture.

Af­ter all, we live here, we love here, and we learn here. Who knows, maybe you’re not just pass­ing through, maybe you will be here for the next 50 years or so. All I know is that the mu­sic is much sweeter when we play it TO­GETHER. God bless you and God bless New­ton County.

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