“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life,” said Tom Petty, who died unexpectedly a few days ago, the legendary lead singer of the Heartbreakers and the Traveling Wilburys. “There’s not some trick involved with it,” he said. “It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”

The key message for today in Tom’s words is, “it heals.” We pray he is right.

When a desecration like the evil that fell on a Las Vegas concert last week harms so many so deeply, music itself will rise back up from the ashes and help in the healing.

No one can kill music. It is woven deeply into the fabric of the human spirit.

Famed concertmaster Leonard Bernstein once told a reporter, “This [music] will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

Resilience in the face of tragedy is a most natural thing for us, but it does not always happen without a little help from our friends. This week the Jamestown Gazette introduces you (we hope not for the first time) to one of the many wonderful sources of beautiful, joyful music in our community, the Jamestown Area Community Orchestra.

They have brought music to the heart of Jamestown for a quarter of a century. They play with a passion and they are paid in the pleasure of sharing their joy. Their help could not be more welcome than just now
Music is a conversation made of more than words, heard with more than ordinary ears. It can speak to the heart in ways that ordinary speech cannot.

It has been said that a community with music in its soul will always have a spring in its step. Local folks with a few generations of family memories will recall, for example, the Ahlstrom Piano Company founded by C. A. Ahlstrom in 1875 down on East Second Street. Some of C. A.’s innovations are now built into just about every upright made anywhere in the world. A few vintage examples of his original instruments have sold at auction for tens of thousands of dollars. Founded about the same time, the historic, women’s Mozart Club and Chorus of Jamestown is still active and growing after a century of bringing music to the community.

That spirit of music continues to thrive in our community more than ever today in a score of groups and bands, a dozen and more of choirs and orchestras and singers of all kinds.

“If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it…” You don’t need Shakespeare to appreciate that sentiment today, but it helps make the point. “What the world needs now is love, sweet lives…”

So let music be our healing. Let it even be its own sweet revenge over the violence that so terribly invaded its space recently. “The true beauty of music is that it connects people,” Roy Ayers promised. “It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.”

This week, please accept Mallery’s cover story invitation to enjoy that message in the magic of music brought to us by the Jamestown Area Community Orchestra. Listen for more than words spoken to the heart of our community.

Whether you enjoy classical music, dance to swing, foot-stomp with folk or clap to country… and whether you play a grand piano yourself or simply whistle a happy tune when you can, enjoy the music. And of course, right here in your community paper…

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.