Happy Saturday on this week after the full ‘Wolf’ moon. February in these parts is the coldest and darkest time of the year. The news reported that for the first time this 2021, in every State people woke up to frost. This truly is the month of the ‘blahs’, of feeling funky. Hence these very special morning Ramblings.

“Music is a means of communication, of connection” ~ Simon Gronowski

This morning it’s not just to erase the ‘blahs’, but much, much, more. Later in the month it’s grandson Derek, our “Mr. Tuba”, who’s celebrating a ‘breakthrough’ birthday – this special Ramblings is for him. Follow that by a day and it will be mine, mine will be the year prior to one of those ‘blowout’ birthdays. Because of that, I want to introduce you to a gentleman who teaches us all how to age with grace and joy – this special Ramblings is for me.

If you’ve ever heard of Simon Gronowski it’s probably because of a New York Times article. The article talks about the fact that Gronowski, during the height of the Covid lockdown in Brussels (his home country is Belgium) Gronowski would throw open his front window and play his favorite music into the neighborhood –shortly this became a thing. Did I mention that he is a pianist and absolutely loves New Orleans style Jazz? 

Gronowski, a Holocaust survivor, mentioned in the NYT interview that it’s been his wish to someday sit in with the band Tuba Skinny. And quoting Shaye Cohn, the de facto leader of the band; “with a little help from some friends, including our technical advisor, Russell Welch, we were able to collaborate from afar”.

So, this morning’s Ramblings are written to give you a bunch of pleasure, happiness, and especially lots of Joy!

This special Ramblings is for you all.

Now, ease back, grab a hot mug of coffee, put your feet up and listen to this concert by Tuba Skinny, If you can, port it onto a Big Screen and possibly a sound bar – in any case pump up the sound. Also, do read the footnotes underneath.

A) Shaye Cohn, Cornet, and as the nominal lead she counts off the tunes and cues. Watch how cleverly she cues the solos for the remote musicians.

B) Erika Lewis, has been the outstanding vocals (and percussion) for the band. She moved to Nashville to prepare a solo album and there required Thyroid surgery (success!). She managed to link in. Since her songs from yesteryear are right in Gronowki’s ‘wheelhouse’ her rejoining the band was Huge!

C) Simon Gronowski was a youngster when he and his older sister Ita and mother, Chana Gronowski, were rounded up by the Nazis and herded aboard convoy train #20 for Auschwitz-Birkenhau. This train was special in that it halted shortly after departure by some resistance fighters. During the chaos a large number of deportees aboard managed to escape. In an act of love, as the train began to move again his mother urged young Simon to jump out and run. He escaped deportation that fateful day, April 19, 1944. His mother and sister stayed and didn’t make it. Gronowski became a Dr. of Law and a Jazz pianist. He taught himself to play piano to honor his sister who played piano.

D) Stay to the end of the concert and listen to the interview of Gronowski and his translator — his grandson.

E) Do yourself a favor and read the New York Times article mentioned earlier.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!


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