What is a Fermata?

In musical symbology, a Fermata, affectionately known as a Bird's Eye, signals to a musician to continue to hold a note for as long as he or she wishes. At Fermata Eclectic, it's a symbol of preserving and celebrating the live music format.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Books Are My Friends

"And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures." ~The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran~

I realize iPads, Nooks, and Kindles are the rage these days. Without a doubt, they serve their purpose in today's digital age.

But aren't we losing a little bit of humanity again as technology continues to creep into our personal lives? To me, it's very much like "civilization" sprawling out into rustic mountainous regions where what's natural must continuously press itself further into the distance. Somehow, it seems, in our attempt to get closer to the very thing we think we want, we erect invisible barriers and boundaries around ourselves and wind up living unconsciously in very separate spaces.

So what has all this got to do with books? you may ask. Everything! As I said: books are my friends. They bring art and beauty and information into my personal and private space. They are always there to share a story with me no matter what mood I'm in. And there's a very satisfying and deep comfort that comes from the physical presence of my literary friends; the ability to hold them as I contemplate the wonders of life and the human experience while gazing at the pages. I'm particularly fond of the way books get me to think and dream and imagine and contemplate things beyond Super Bowl commercials or the latest Hollywood idol.

Of course, too, there's that wonderful sensation of touch when flipping a page in a book, which is surpassed only by the thrill of discovering an even richer world on the other side. As the bumbling Professor Abronsius exclaimed upon entering Dracula's commodious library in The Fearless Vampire Killers, "Once I get started, I am engulfed for a week!"

Being the executive director of the Kensington-based performing arts organization, Fermata Eclectic, I can see technology--very much like "civilization" in rustic mountainous regions--sprawling out into live music venues. In countless establishments across America (and the world), where there used to be a piano with people crowding around it listening and singing and sharing, now there's nothing more than contemporary sofas and side chairs with people sitting stoically while unconsciously listening to piped-in music. Of course, the musicians, who might otherwise be performing music, are quietly pushed off into the distance with "civilization" being almost completely oblivious to the plight.

That's why I started Fermata Eclectic: to sustain the live music format. As a performing arts organization, it exists as an aesthetic preserve for talented musicians so that their friends and families can come and enjoy and share in what otherwise has the threat of becoming extinct.

Don't make the mistake of waking up some morning only to read on your Kindle or iPad or Nook about the lost art of acoustic music. Because, chances are, you will have already delivered the literary friends on the shelves in your library to the neighborhood book crematory and Fahrenheit 451 will only be available in the Kindle version.

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