This holiday is about important things. While its meaning is too often expressed with the same old words, those words themselves mean a lot.
So in a year that has been fraught with additional challenges for performers and companies and support organizations and everybody else in the arts, here’s a little happyrant about the things I’m grateful for:
I love that moment when an audience is so collectively excited about a performance that they can’t help themselves, and the urge to leap from your seat and start screaming and clapping is undeniable.
All the moments when a note is sung so purely that it takes your breath away.
The people who support each other in spite of the fact that they’re competing for the same job.
The unfathomable love and support that flows between performers when something terrible like illness or death or grief or unexplainable tragedy takes place in our community.
All of the people who have supported and donated to artist relief funds.
All of the people who donate time, energy and their passionate voices to fight for arts funding, equity in the arts, sustainable working conditions, and just good work. (We should all be a joyful part of this group.)
The composers who make their ideas come to life and allow us to perform their dreams.
The audiences who journey with us through unfamiliar contemporary works, even when it’s weird, and even when it’s challenging, knowing that we can’t identify the good in that work until it’s been performed.
The arts administrators, crew members and managers who may not perform themselves, but who throw all of their passion into building opportunities to express and experience beauty.
The critics and the reviewers who stick their necks out for good art and authentic performance, drawing attention to marvelous things and a demanding better when they fall short, doing a job that often comes with a lot of very personal backlash and little or no pay, to boot. (Shout-out to the reviewers for the List, who are all volunteers.)
The donors and funders who put their money where their hearts are.
The fans who like, follow, repost, share, buy tickets, join, subscribe, and generally send love to the people who work so hard for them.
And for everyone in the Listerhood, who has made it possible for us to continue in spite of tremendous odds this year. We’re not going away. I don’t want you to, either.