Connecting the Dots: Worlds of difference

  • Thomas Pousont at the keyboard of the First Church of Deerfield’s famed tracker organ assisted by his son Dorian pulling and pushing the stops. PHOTO BY JOHN BOS

  • John Bos FILE PHOTO

Published: 5/13/2022 6:21:46 PM
Modified: 5/13/2022 6:20:09 PM

I time-traveled between two worlds on Sunday, the day before Politico released the leaked, in-your-face draft opinion by Republican-appointed Justice Samuel Alito that revealed that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The first world I traveled to further fueled my fear that I might never escape from this Trumpist hell on earth before I die. That Sunday’s New York Times, starting on the front page and consuming six full pages inside, presented its readers with the first of a two-part turgid accounting of “How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable News.”

Labeled “American Nationalist” in the article’s headline, the deeply researched NYT series describes “what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news — and also, by some measures, the most successful.” That “measure of success” is the “largest megaphone” for Fox News in all of cable television with 3.385 million viewers for “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in January followed closely by “Hannity” with 3.168 million viewers.

Carlson and company are throwing carefully crafted cannisters of editorial gasoline on the anti-immigrant flames that surged in the wake of 9/11. Carlson, who claims to be an “enemy of prejudice,” has accused “impoverished immigrants of making America dirty” reports the Times. Night after night Carlson warns his viewers that they inhabit a civilization under siege — by violent Black Lives Matter protesters, by diseased migrants from south of the border, by refugees importing alien cultures, and by tech companies and cultural elites who silence them, or label them racist. Carlson and Fox News are furiously fueling the flames of nationalistic nihilism in America. This was confirmed on Monday night when I made myself watch Hannity and companions enjoy and excoriate the liberal anguish in the crowds of protesters throughout America protesting the Alito Roe vs. Wade majority draft “opinion.” Alito writes that the Constitution does not include abortion in it. That the 55 Christian white men who crafted the document included nothing about women at all does not appear to concern him.

My personal dismay is the fact that millions of voters somehow don’t get it. One of the reasons they don’t get it is because we are all living in a world of manufactured disinformation blaring at us through digital megaphones.

My iPhone’s digital timer rescued me from reading more about Carlson with a reminder that it was time for me to travel to a life-affirming world outside the depressing news in my living room. That world, on that warm May Sunday, was a concert in the always uplifting embrace of music that is the Brick Church Music series in the First Church in old Deerfield. The concert, the last in this season’s series, featured Thomas Pousont on the church’s extraordinary Richards, Fowkes & Company Opus 13 tracker organ with Thomas Bergeron on the trumpet.

I have been a lover of organ music since my days in the mid-60s when I first heard South Philadelphia native Joey DeFrancesco on the Hammond B-3 organ with its Leslie Speaker. He led me to other jazz organists like Jimmy Smith and Garth Hudson.

Later in New York City in the early 70s, I was introduced to E. Power Biggs and his classic organ repertoire. I still have his recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, (BWV 565),” perhaps the best-known solo organ piece in the world. There is something about the floor shaking sub bass that can envelope body and soul, especially when Bach commands the keyboards, stops and foot pedals.

Pousont and Bergeron, colleagues in various music programs at Deerfield Academy, wrapped me in a sonic serendipity that transcended the printed words that had darkened my Sunday morning. Bergeron’s trumpet added a seamless upper voice to the range on First Church’s classic tracker organ. Pousont and Bergeron are brilliant collaborators.

Pousont’s son Dorian, fresh out of Princeton University and on his way to medical school, supported his father’s performance of “Harmonies” by GyörgyLigeti. This 1967 composition required a second set of hands to push, pull and slide the many stops to evoke sounds rarely heard on any organ.

I’ve run out of space. But I will long remember how Pousont demonstrated Bach’s mastery of the organ once again by calling forth the full range of the instrument’s voices in his luminous performance of Bach’s “Fantasia & Fugue in G (BWV 542).

What, I keep asking myself, would it take for us all live in a world of harmony?

Connecting the Dots appears every other Saturday in the Recorder. Greenfield resident John Bos is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times and his essays about our climate crisis have appeared in many regional newspapers. Questions and comments are invited at john01370@gmail.com.


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