Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor regarding “Old Time Jam”:

I’m here, in front on my parents’ Dell desktop computer in their obsolete living room. My hair periodically droops down in front of my eyes, making sight irritating. I’ve had a long day of work and an even more eventful night of “socializing” at the local watering hole. The lights are dim and the house is quiet; my dog peacefully sleeps in a curled up ball directly behind me on an outdated couch. The time is 9:49 P.M. on a Thursday, and a large window sits parallel to me on my right. The wind is rustling throughout the trees; I can feel the cold air seeping through the cracks. It chills me.

Most things that appeal to me regard imagery. Imagery can be very powerful and very moving. Whether it’s through print, audio or in actual visuals, imagery is a very real concept of perception.

I’d like to talk about a specific article that really presented a defining case of imagery. I recently read an article for a specific writing class that I’m currently enrolled in.  The name of the article is “Old Time Jam” by Laura Quayle. Guys, it’s fantastic, and let me tell you why.

It’s about the imagery. At first, the visual image grabs your eye.****  As you look over the photo, there are a few grab-eye moments. The snow bursts, the glare of the box of the violin and the fantastic contrast from the chapped knuckles and black jacket can’t evade your eye, but what lies beneath?

This person is playing their instrument outside, outside in the cold, in the snow. This person is an amazing person. This person is playing their instrument outside in the snow for people, people that walk by. These people are nothing but passers-by, yet sweet airs are played for them only for a moment with hopes to calm their worrisome lives, if only for that one moment. This person’s hopefulness of connecting with a total stranger is in full effect.

This is what “Old Time Jam” is all about—connecting. I found a great quote in the article, it reads,

“Teachers, writers, air force personnel and retirees, aged 20 to 90, gather together at the wooden benches around the corner table for an open jam. We play this tune over and over, until all of us have emerged from our separateness—our own busy days, our existence in different towns and different generations—and have landed together in one beat and one melody, which starts in our fingers and comes to permeate the entire restaurant.”

Events like this are far and far to come, a dying experience for short. Many traditions throughout this Old Time music culture are being forgotten; the music that is passed down is done so through a culture within our own families or communities, but what if the family stops? What if the community stops?

This is what Salem Old Time Jam, and other regional musicians are preventing. Salem Old Time Jam’s music community–musinity–helps to preserve an age where people will not forget their heritage, their talents, their individuality and lastly, but, for-God-damn-sure, not least, their ability to come together, as one. They will not be overlooked.

- Scott Orsillo
Salem State University

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