Friday, October 19, 2012

If We Stand Together

Jack had a choir concert at the high school tonight. All of the choirs from both the junior and senior high schools performed, then came together to sing one final song. It was darn impressive. The quality of the music programs in our schools is just one of the reasons I love living in our community.

As we sat in the auditorium, I remembered another reason. For several years I was on the committee for our city-wide book club, Springville Reads. We'd select a thought-provoking book (sometimes two or three along a similar theme for different ages) and encourage everyone in town to read it and have conversations about it.

Shortly after 9/11--a critical time for us to consider carefully who our enemies are--we selected the book When the Emperor Was Divine, a beautifully written novel by Julie Otsuka about a Japanese-American family interned at Topaz during World War II. Elegant and so powerful in its spareness.

We invited two speakers for our kick-off event, which involved a crowd that filled the high school auditorium (!): Michael Tunnell, local author of a non-fiction book called The Children of Topaz, and a gentleman from the Japanese American Citizens League with personal connections to Topaz.

Now a dozen or so years later, it feels as though we've lost ground in the lessons we tried so hard to learn then. But the final number at the concert tonight--all the choirs together more than 250 voices strong--gives me renewed hope.

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