Like so many, I have been devastated to witness the recent uptick in incidents and words of hate against many groups of people. I believe it is crucial to stand up against such hatred. But I also believe, as Hippie-ish as it sounds, that the only thing that truly trumps hate is love. We can and must stand up to defend people from discrimination, but the only real way to counteract a hand raised in anger is to offer our own hands in peace, solidarity, help, and understanding.
In this spirit, I wanted to offer my performance and arrangement of my favorite song on this topic, ‘Not Too Far From Here.’ The introduction is a song I wrote called ‘Queen Esther,’ in memory of my grandmother, Esther Bates, who escaped the Holocaust and subsequently lived her life to help others. The great Lisa Willson was gracious enough to lend me her incomparable vocals, piano, and concert venue to perform this song.
I am not naïve enough to think that music on its own can create the kind of change the world most needs – but my hope and prayer is that it may provide an inspirational soundtrack for the loving deeds of true heroes.