Whenever a new neighbor would move into a house on our block, my mother would bake some cookies or some bread, walk over with the edibles and welcome the new people to the neighborhood. One year she insisted I come along, which was torture because I was shy. I remember asking her, “Why do this when nobody did it when we moved in?” It turns out that others might have been shy, too.
I’m grateful that my mom made me tag along that day because it taught me the importance of reaching out and making a newcomer feel welcome, wanted, and included.
It’s because of this early lesson from that I fully appreciated the wonderful gestures and welcoming acts that the administrative staff and musicians of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera extended to me. One gesture in particular was extremely gracious; executive director, Molly Sasse, invited her Facebook friends to share their Chattanooga favorites with me: restaurants, neighborhood walks, shopping, and more so I could see what Chattanooga is all about.
The responses were exciting and inspiring, not only do I feel even more welcome but I now have a personalized list of things to do, places to eat, and sites to see!
While I was in Chattanooga this past June, I kept remarking to people that I had no idea how fun, culturally active, beautiful, and diverse the city was. “We get that a lot,” was the common answer.
While the bulk of my articles have been about how classical music is trending and how the business is (or isn’t) thriving, it is also important to see how an orchestra and a community relate to one another.
So starting this fall, I will add a regularly occurring series to Neo Classical that will share some of the places I find interesting while in Chattanooga and how they might relate to the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera and classical music in general; everything from dining, art galleries, the zoo and aquarium to hiking and biking.
And since I’ll be seeing Chattanooga with newcomer’s eyes, this is a perfect opportunity to cross familiar bridges and create new ones.
I’m most grateful to the warm welcome The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera extended and I’m very much looking forward to this new adventure. Stay tuned!