hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


June 20, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Striking the right musical balance


We find ourselves competing with the music and pretend to understand each other's conversation when really we don't.

It's one thing to become exposed to loud music at a concert, if that's what you really want, but not in a more sedate environment when music isn't the focal point.

I entertained a group of close friends and popped the question, "So what will it be, folks?"

They thought I meant cocktails.

"Music, boys. What's your pleasure? You name it, I've got it."

I own a vast music library, whether it's at home or in the car. I try to be selective in what I play when guests are involved. More often than not, I get complimented upon my choice. Just to cover myself, I have it all categorized.

"Play something relaxing," they suggested.

Well, it was so stimulating. Hardly anyone noticed I was playing anything at all. I sat there waiting for somebody to laud my musical aperitif, and one finally did.

"I love your choice of music," he said.

It made me feel like a million bucks because I take great pride in my culture and music is a very integral part of it. During ethnic occasions, I choose Armenian symphony music and people enjoy it. Maybe they don't get enough of it at home.

During an interview once with an upper-crust woman, she indicated that her favorite entertainer was Yanni. She didn't know if that was his first name or his last. Just Yanni.

"Never heard of him," I admitted.

"Oh, he's just the greatest thing to hit the musical world," the woman said. "Kind of a mix between New Age and jazz."

An hour later, I was at a middle school photographing a principal when I noticed this picture of Yanni on the secretary's desk. I was taken aback by the coincidence.

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