Whenever my daughter is in town, the family is treated to great cuisine. She is an advocate of the culinary arts, or, in the vernacular, a “foodie.” Not only does she envision remarkable meals, she creates them, from start to finish. As the happy beneficiary of this process, I find myself swept up into a world of ingredients, of color, texture and of course, taste. I’ve been immersed in this intriguing world again for the last several weeks, so it was no surprise that I found myself this past weekend thinking of parallels to today’s program.

A few definitions:
Note: a single tone of definite pitch made by a musical instrument or the human voice.
Word: a distinct element of speech, used with others to form a sentence.
Music: the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony and expression of emotion.
Poem: a piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical…something that arouses strong emotions because of its beauty.

Notes and words are like carrots and onions. They are interesting in themselves, but find remarkable transformation when combined with others of their kind in the hands and hearts of gifted women and men. Knowledge, skill, craft and passion are common ingredients (no pun intended!).

Charles Ives and George Gershwin took individual notes and made fabulous music that now resonates with everyday folk in everyday situations. Pianist James Giles brings that music to life for us today.

Poet Kevin Coval takes individual words, adds large doses of his Chicago heritage and love of family and people in general, and turns an “El” line into a living character in the ongoing play of our city.

Food, music, poetry…good things, great things, all.

One could say the same, I think, of people – interesting in themselves, but remarkable when combined in community for a larger purpose, which brings me to the final significant “ingredient” in my thoughts today: YOU!

You are the everyday people who come every week to Rush Hour, bringing your own individual sensibilities to this feast of great live music. Just as great culinary creations are useless until enjoyed by dinner guests, so too, music and poetry need humans experiencing them to fill out their expression and meaning.

Now let us all enjoy these individual ingredients and their beguiling transformation into a delightful feast for the ears and eyes!

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