LENOX — No one single day or event brought the town of Lenox back to life after a year and a half of pandemic lockdown. But July 10, opening night at Tanglewood, was shaping up to be a strong contender for Best Day of 2021, even before Prof. Jeremy Yudkin arrived at the Lenox Library to deliver his pre-concert talk for that evening’s all-Beethoven program. Then, about threescore of his most loyal music friends showed up, and the professor’s 39th consecutive year of delivering Tanglewood pre-concert talks at the Library commenced. There was joie de vivre all over the place: Old friends reunited, shouts of recognition, smiles galore.
Just a few months earlier, such a scene would have been unimaginable.
A recent opinion piece by Adam Grant in the New York Times perfectly describes the essence of what took place at the library on Saturday. Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, says we find our greatest bliss in moments of “collective effervescence.” Using that term, Grant refers to the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose. Concerts, and lectures about concerts, produce that feeling as much as any other human activity.
Thanks to Zoom, Prof. Yudkin was able to continue his lectures through the darkest days of the pandemic, as the Boston Symphony Orchestra found ways last summer of presenting concert performances online from Studio E at Tanglewood’s Linde Center for Music and Learning.
This year, Prof. Yudkin’s talks are held in the open air, from 2:30–4 p.m. on Saturdays in the Roche Reading Park (next to the library). The complete schedule can be found here.
A large canopy provides nearly ample shade. (Trees provide more.) The library provides chairs, but they quickly run out, so play it safe and bring something to sit on. Admission is free, thanks to the Town of Lenox and the Lenox Library Association.
Directions to the Lenox Library can be found here.