by on November 11, 2015


Fotolia_33755896_XSA few years ago while we were dating, my wife introduced me to a place called Albert Hall in Waretown, New Jersey. Albert Hall is a testimony to the “Music of the Pinelands” and the Pinelands Cultural Society. Its purpose is to preserve the music of the region. For over 30 years local musicians come together on a Saturday night to play together, both songs with which they are all familiar and their own creations. For a long time the group rented space in a local establishment. After that building burned down, the music continued in the parking lot on the sight of the burned out building among the ruins. In 1997, the current Albert Hall was open. It has been attracting patrons every Saturday evening ever since for 3 ½ hours of music by multiple groups for a very small admission charge.

However, one does not have to come to Albert Hall and share their love of the music of the region just inside the main building. Next to the hall is a building known as the “Picking Shed”. In that structure, for a period of 4 hours, musicians from the area come together to play with each other. They don’t get paid for playing, (for that matter neither do any of the performers in the main hall). They play together for the love of the music.

A recent night I attended, a woman arrived and joined the group. In a break between songs, she indicated that she had come to the area about 5 years before to care for her mother. She was a regular attendee and participant at the sessions playing her piccolo. That night she indicated her mother had passed away the evening before. She asked the others in the group of which she had come to be a part, if they could do a rendition of “Amazing Grace” in honor of her Mother. The group not only agreed but did a masterful job together and were a source of comfort to her. She was comforted to be part of the community.

We are all part of different communities. Some come by circumstance. We move into a neighborhood or are part of a neighborhood for a period of time, and those living around us become part of our community. Others form from the places we work, the people we go to school with and have in our classes or from the clubs and activities we join. Many times those in the communities of which we are a part understand and support our needs even better than our friends and family.

As a job search coach these last several years I witness this fact on a regular basis in the job search groups I attend and facilitate. People are often at their lowest point when having lost a job or having been searching for one for a long time. Often pressures are applied upon them by those closest to them or even by themselves. The groups of which I have been a part have forged many a friendship and support from others who truly understand what an individual is going through by sharing the same experience.

I truly believe there is a community or several communities for individuals to bond with as long as they make the effort to seek them out. In the beginning if you are the new arrival, you may feel awkward in joining. However, the truly caring communities, the ones that get together for the purpose of both looking to get some compassion and support from others and even more important give compassion and support to others, are the ones that truly survive and are most meaningful. Albert Hall and its 30 plus year history does not happen by accident. It is a testimony to people’s willingness when they open their hearts to bond with others.

What are the communities in your life of which you are a part?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • FriendFeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Posterous
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: