Songs of Hope truly inspirational


To the Editor:

I had the good fortune to attend Songs of Hope and Healing presented by Western Carolina University Chorus and Concert Choir on Oct. 8 at the beautiful Bardo Arts Center. What a gift to the community!

Kudos to Allison Thorp, her accompanists and soloists, and the extremely talented choir and chorus members. The chorus and choir presented a most unique and relevant event. I was profoundly inspired as I walked away from that symbolic Camelot. I was filled with hope, love and faith. The combination of poetry and music lifted my spirit in a manner that lead me to believe that all humans can live together in harmony.

One of the inspirational poems was that of e.e. cummings, “I thank you God for most this amazing day,” which states in its first stanza “I thank you God for most this amazing day: For the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes...” Cummings also states “I who have died am alive again today.”

That is the way I felt after leaving that wonderful event. There is hope, and we can heal from the wounds in our lives. The poet says it for me.

I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to experience the beauty of these natural surroundings. Western Carolina University is one of the major reasons I live in this community. There is a great deal of peace and joy, and I am grateful to the people who are part of this wonderful institution.

Michael Gonzalez, Sylva


Thanks, Uncle Joe


To the Editor:

So 45 helped the wealthy and at “Marred Alargoo” told his buddies he made them even richer. With no provisions to pay for less revenue he did nothing else for four chaotic years other than:

• increase the federal deficit;

• take children from their parents;

• pack the Supreme Court with sympathizers;

• have a recession compared in my view with the Great Depression;

• blame those around him for the pandemic;

• Lie about the election.

Those people, fed by Fox, praise this dictator and now complain about dictator Biden. Well, for those of the right, as you seek to deny our freedom to vote, you have what you asked for. That “infrastructure of the week” talk by Fox and 45 is now a reality. President Biden, your new dictator, has just created enough unity to pass an infrastructure bill that is mostly paid for.

The estimate is more than one million jobs will be created. Good paying jobs. Yes, you ole wing nuts, moderates and progressives are the tax-and-spend folks. We believe we should pay for our expenses.

Thank you, President Biden, for never giving up and delivering an infrastructure bill that will help us working stiffs in these mountains. The bill will improve roads and bridges, create more available broadband with less costly internet connections, provide funding for electric vehicles and charging stations and build a stronger grid to prevent the power outages we experience for days at a time. If this is a dictatorship, I will take President Biden over the less government, less taxes, less services, privatized education and wealthy representatives supported by our extreme neighbors.

Thanks, Uncle Joe, for standing up for me, my family and my crazy neighbors. I truly hope to see us all smiling next year as the economy and job opportunities continue to grow.

Ron Robinson, Sylva


Benefits of band pay off for years


To the Editor:

For many years of my education, I was a student in music – specifically band. I started in seventh grade and continued through my freshman year of college.

In high school, marching band was a key part in my development in becoming who I am today. Marching band was helpful in my transition to college as it gave me new friends and something that was familiar to me, in an environment that was new and different. Overall, music and band have been large parts of my life, and I cannot imagine where I would be without either.

As it was for myself, music education and the arts are crucial for students. Studies have shown that students who have access to and take music classes are likely to do better on schoolwork, have greater cognitive performance and increased motivation.

And yet, there seems to always be talk of cutting funding from music and arts programs by school boards or local and state governments. One reason this happens is because the people in charge likely don’t understand how important music and arts education is for students. These cuts in funding can lead to a less enriching program or the loss of staff members.

So, what can you do? One thing you can do to start is through supporting local efforts to promote music and arts education. Another way to support music and arts education is to tell people! Write to your elected officials – local, state, and national; tell them why you support it, why it is important for our students and how they can help.

If there is a student in your life who is involved in music education, one of the best things you can do is to support their music program. You can do this by going to their concerts, donating and volunteering.

Music education takes the students in the community, no matter their background or ability, and unites them. Music connects them and gives them a place to connect with their peers and teachers. It gives students a place to be creative, to be vulnerable, to be a team, and to become leaders. It gave me these opportunities, along with many others, and future students deserve to benefit from music education, too. As my high school band director always said, “What does ‘band’ mean? Together!”

Erin Bowden, Cullowhee


Beautiful mountains, beautiful people


To the Editor:

It is always beautiful in these mountains, but this fall the colors have been even more gorgeous than usual.

But, not only are these mountains beautiful, the people here are gracious and beautiful.

Just last week I was checking out at a local grocery store, and when I reached for my billfold, I was embarrassed that I had left it home. I asked the clerk to leave the groceries in the cart, and I would be back shortly to pay for them. As I was leaving I heard a man holler, “Sir, sir.” When I turned around he said, “I’ll take care of them for you.” I replied, “Oh my. That’s awesome. Thanks so much.” Beautiful, gracious people!

The week before that we placed our order at a fast food drive through and drove on up to the cashier. She informed us that the driver in front of us had paid for our meal.

I recently was at a local pharmacy and got in line behind 12 people. A lady, fourth in line, looked back and saw this elderly man (I’m 89) with a cane. She motioned for me to come up to her. Mystified, I complied. She said for me to take her place in line, and she moved to the back of the line. Gracious, beautiful people.

I was mowing our front yard with our push mower when a neighbor walked by and came over and said, “Here, you shouldn’t be doing that, and he insisted on completing the job.

My wife and I walk for exercise every other day. Within the past two years two drivers noticed this elderly couple and stopped their car to ask if we were alright and offered to give us a ride.

When we were preparing to move here eight years ago, our house was in much need of renovation. It was amazing how many people helped get it livable.

I could go on and on about the beautiful gracious people around here.

Just one exception: There are a FEW trashy people who throw litter and mess up this beautiful area. Well, they are also fine people, but they just don’t realize how thoughtless this is.

Eddie Henson, Sylva