Mayor Wu sounds resonant note for music’s place in our lives
The article “Arts and Culture Can Bring People Together” (Sunday Arts, December 26, 2021) begins by reporting that Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has extended her list of historic “firsts” by installing a piano in bedrooms of the mayor.
Your readers might be interested to know that this isn’t the first time Wu has made music history at Town Hall. On April 30, 2014, live jazz filled the boardroom. Wu, in her former role as chair of the council’s arts and culture committee, invited me, in my former role as chair of a nonprofit jazz advocacy organization, to bring a band to celebrate the International Jazz Day, which had been added to the calendar a few years earlier by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to recognize the power of jazz to bring people together.
The group performed “No Walls”, a touching jazz anthem of inclusion and hope composed by Mark Sumner Harvey, director of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, which counts among its ancestors Charles Sumner, the American abolitionist senator from Massachusetts who in 1856 was beaten in the Senate Chamber for his opinions.
Wu was not only responsible for Boston’s first official recognition of International Jazz Day; with her invitation every year since, she has established a new tradition at town hall. As mayor, Wu makes it appear that the walls that divide the various communities in our city will begin to crumble.