While the bombs exploded in Boston six of the sharpest students from the Berklee School of Music had just wrapped a live radio jazz performance in the New York City market. As family and friends of struggled to connect with people who might have been at the marathon or related events, parents of those talented performers felt relief from the confidence knowing this group of Bostonians was safe.
When Berklee's Ralph Peterson Sextet took the stage of the legendary Blue Note in Greenwich Village the top flight jazz drummer and instructor to the students took a moment to offer up the night's performance to the Boston bombing victims. It was the perfect note of acknowledgement in a room of people buzzing about details of the attacks sitting a dozen blocks from Ground Zero.
Later the musicians admitted they had friends at Berklee on their minds as they played their hearts out in New York. "God bless their souls right now," said Jared Mulcahy. Jared grew up in Skaneateles and is now in his second year at Berklee. His parents, my brother Tim and sister-in-law Kristen, made the drive to the Village to hear him play. They greeted him with a warm embrace, relieved they did not have to worry about his safety in Boston.
There were other reminders of the concern over another possible terrorist attack striking New York. Bags being checked in subway entrances. Helicopters flying overhead. Uniformed police popping up at regular intervals through Manhattan.
Taxi drivers theorized about who might have planted the Boston bombs. Restaurants with televisions turned all the flatscreens to CNN, ESPN and broadcast network coverage of the bombings and the investigations. New York knows how terrible a day of terror can be.
These outstanding young jazz musicians learned lessons only found outside of a classroom. They experienced their maiden voyage on the Blue Note stage. They also learned the right way to balance the joy of performance with the hard realities of life.
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