Music is a magical thing. It takes us to places we’ve been, places we’d rather be, brings back memories and, in a way, renews old friendships. I know whereof I speak for I love seventies music and consider as my friends many of the musicians of that era.
Saturday night I made some new friends through music; in truth it was a gift from a guy we all worked with at the station, Chris Nelhybel. You folks who watch us never saw him, though if you visit our website you know of him. He was in charge of that creation until his death in January, 2011. I did not know Chris as well as I should have, a mistake many of us make when it comes to folks we work with; we spend the day with them, maybe go out for coffee afterward or in our case show up at a public appearance on a weekend but know them? Probably not.
Unfortunately for me I did not find out until later that Chris was an accomplished musician choosing to use the guitar as a means of communicating whatever a listener chooses to hear. That is my loss.
As it turned out he came from a musically inclined family. His father Vaclav was a composer and arranger though I no doubt do him a disservice by describing him so briefly; to do those things requires someone much deeper than those words imply. Chris’ family commissioned some music in his honor and arranged for a scholarship in his name, the Chris Nelhybel Memorial Guitar Scholarship.
Saturday night was the world premier of those newly minted pieces of music and those of us who work at 16 along with dozens of others were invited to listen and, additionally, to meet and hear the first recipient of the scholarship.
The concert was held at the University of Scranton and I must tell you it was an evening to be treasured for the quality of the music, the spirit of the orchestra and the choir and the meaning behind it all. I would do an injustice to try and put into words the performance of Saturday night. We heard some wonderful music played by talented musicians and sung by a choir that performed beautifully.
The two pieces commissioned by the Nelhybel family were a special treat and some of the other pieces played were arranged and composed by Vaclav. It was a gift to all of us, the
friends of the family of Chris Nelhybel, a talented man whose love of music now will live on through others for years to come. We can be glad for that.