Just Jim, standing over the new Yamaha G-7 at Monte Vista Church.  Photo by Donna Ahrend (that's my sister!).


There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is.


    ---quote attributed (probably incorrectly) to Albert Einstein (but I like it anyhow)



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With the Holidays Upon Us Jim Ahrend  | Oct 30, 2013

I can't believe it's here.  Halloween-Thanksgiving-Channukah-Christmas.  "Hathachanmas."  Feels like one long holiday, from now until New Years.


I get kind of introspective during this season, remembering last year, thinking about all the things that happened between last fall and now.  It is always amazing.  I play a game with myself from time to time, and try to think if I could have imagined a year ago what my life would look like right now.  The answer is always, "no way!"  Try it yourself.  Think about where you were last year and ask yourself if what you expected actually happened.  Truth is, for me, life is never as I expect.  The one thing I can count on is the unpredicatability of it all.


One of the coolest things that 2013 brought is the advent of "Faith, Hope and Jazz," a series of experimental jazz-vespers I've been running for Monte Vista church.  We recently had to move to another venue but it continues going on in unpredicatable ways.  Check out the website for more info: http://www.faithhopeandjazz.org.  It has just been so cool to put together a different quartet each week, and to play with some of the best players in Albuquerque, on a regular basis.  Serendipity.


So I was going through pictures and came across this one from a concert I did with Arlen Asher, Cal Haines and Colin Deuble at the Harwood Museum in Taos last Spring.  It got me thinking of how fortunate I am to play music for people, with musicians of such excellent calliber and dedication.  Other gigs this year have included Museum Hill Cafe in SantaFe (Bobby Shew), the Albuquerque Museum Amphitheatre (with Michael Herndon, Bobby Shew, and also AJO - Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra), the Outpost (Doug Mulligan and friends), and so on.  I guess I am one lucky dude to be able to do something I love so much on a regular basis, to the extent that I do.  It makes me happy to imagine that I've helped make others happy.


But, to take it one step deeper---I need to make a plug for the arts.  Modern culture tends to think of the arts as something "extra" but not essential.  I would argue against that notion.  Without the arts (visual, musical, all arts), we truly do not know who we are: not just as individuals, but as a human organism.  Our daily lives feel so superficial sometimes, compared to what we experience through the arts, which are far far richer in their ability to let us know who we are than anything else we may do.  Our creativity, and what we wind up loving or not loving, tells us what we value, what we think is important, what we think is good.  Without the arts, I would argue, we would all be truly lost, and clueless.


So---remember that during this season.  Remember to experience the arts in whatever way feels good to you.  And realize how important that is for you.  It is how we know who we are.


And, Happy Hathachanmas. :-)