Today is Friday, April 3rd. Three weeks ago today, The Grand began cancelling the remainder of this season – this, our 125th Legendary Season! To say life for all of us has been a challenge is a vast understatement. Right now, in “normal” times, I would be sitting at my desk, listening to the musical sounds of pipes hitting the pavement as we would be setting up for our 25th Annual Grand Kids Festival. It’s always been a happy sound – our own brand of wind chimes – that would ring out along Postoffice Street in preparation for a day of fun, color, activities and joy all day Saturday. Tomorrow’s Festival can’t happen just yet, but the 25th anniversary will be next year, on March 27, 2021, just as most of the major performances we’ve cancelled have transferred into next season. Because I work well in advance of scheduled performances, we have a Summer Season already booked, but will not roll out until we have permission to do so.
On Sunday, March 22, at 4pm, I called Rob Landes, our amazing friend and musician who plays The Grand every year and delivers stories and music that make our hearts sing. He should have been on stage at that time, opening his performance. He answered the phone with “right now, I’d be starting Gershwin’s ‘S wonderful!” We were, as always, in sync. Within this email is a snippet of Rob playing a few songs reminding us that he will be back next season as always and we will celebrate his return to The Grand’s stage. There are other artists who are sending me greetings that I will share with you and I hope you get comfort in knowing that our show will go on as soon as possible.
The arts have helped to heal for centuries, and right here in Galveston, we’ve experienced that in our 125 year history. Every time I’ve led a tour of the theatre, I talk about the 1900 Storm and the fact that The Grand was up and running just over a year after that devastating and horrific occurrence. People needed to re-gather to weep, or to perhaps laugh for a moment as they healed. Who knew, more than a century later, that The Grand would again be part of the healing after Hurricane Ike destroyed so much. The Grand re-opened on our 114th birthday, on January 3, 2009, ready to serve our community.
We’ll be here for you again when we’re given permission to gather. There are so many links to “at-home” performances and even symphonies that have found a way to play together despite the distances. We are blessed to be able to enjoy that creative spirit and I urge you to click on something when you feel the need. Google is our friend right now more than ever. I also urge you to diligently practice the guidelines issued by the CDC. We will come through this because we’re paying attention. I am so grateful for our doctors and nurses, technicians, care-givers, paramedics, firefighters, law officers, grocery store employees and pharmacists, delivery drivers and restaurant takeout waitstaff and sanitation workers. And don’t forget to support those businesses that are struggling to stay open. We’re all in this together. I find people waving from their cars, or smiling at a distance, reaching out virtually. I’m hopeful that when this is all over, we will remember to be polite, and respectful and appreciative.
My wish for all of you, our Grand friends, is that you stay safe and well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally, or send an email to us with any questions or comments. In today’s world, we have the advantage of being able to communicate quickly. Let’s use it to stay in touch and look forward to enjoying an evening together soon.
With best wishes to all,
Maureen M. Patton
Executive Director, The Grand 1894 Opera House