Happy New Year?

Mike Lawson • January 2021Perspective • January 8, 2021

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Well, 2020 is over. That pretty much sucked, didn’t it? I am so eager to say, “Happy New Year” and hope you all have glad tidings and wonderful months ahead, but I don’t want to jinx it. The year started out so good, so full of hope and promise with lots of exciting plans in front of me.

Well, the first two months were actually pretty good, with the Winter NAMM show, the Ohio Music Educators Association conference, and the TMEA conference in Texas, where TI:ME celebrated its 25th anniversary, and I came home with the flu. Ok, maybe the flu part wasn’t so good, but I recovered in plenty of time to make it to the American Bandmasters Association Convention in Biloxi, Mississippi the first week of March. That trip was pretty good… until it wasn’t. I spent a couple of hours pacing in front of the hotel canceling my trip to Germany for Musikmesse, a plane ticket I had bought just a week before. It was, of course, non-refundable, and who knows if and when I will get to use the credit for it. I’m sure Delta will be all too delighted to allow it to expire.

As I sat in the hotel room, I pondered how serious things were about to get. I realized I had to cancel trips and planned editorial. There would be no festivals to attend. No awesome theme park workshops to see the debut of as planned. No cruises with band students performing festivals in foreign ports. No MEA conferences the rest of the year and for who knows how long. No overseas trips to Europe. My long-awaited lifetime dream of visiting England, seeing Abbey Road, doing the whole “Magical Mystery Tour” of all things Beatles was not going to happen. I came home with a nasty cold, just as the Coronavirus was kicking into high gear.

Schools shuttered. People hoarded toilet paper and everything else they could get their hands on. Others politicized the virus in heinous ways, spreading disinformation which continues to this day. We saw the dregs of humanity display callous and utter disdain for the safety of their fellow human beings as they ran rampant in stores and well, everywhere, protesting the wearing of a mask to possibly help prevent their neighbor or loved one from getting the virus they may be carrying unaware. Don’t even get me started on the election and the dark underbelly of the Internet with its horrendous rumormongering and conspiracy theories propagated by who knows who and spread by the ignorant, gullible, and loathsome fire-starters that inhabit social media and message boards. We had a year that brought out the worst traits of many people.

But then, we had an equal number of people (I guess, I didn’t count) trying to do the right thing. Social distancing, not hoarding, donating money even when they had little, calling people out for misinformation and lies, trying in earnest to do the right thing — to treat others as they would have themselves treated.

This issue starts my 7th year, and we present the raw results of how 2020 went, with over 1300 of you replying to our survey on how COVID-19 impacted you, your school year, and students. You are heroes to a lot of kids through an awfully strange time in mankind’s history. Kids need music. I need music. You need music. And through this bizarre turn of events, you kept it going the best you could. I’ll risk the jinx. I wish you a very happy new year, a better one, with hope, with a vaccine, and a fresh start. I sure hope I didn’t just muck it up for you.

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