Over the coming days you’re going to read a lot of end of year summaries talking about the train wreck that was 2017. This isn’t one of them. I firmly believe that in years to come we will look back at 2017 as a turning point year…for the better.
In many ways, 2017 shone a spotlight on some of the worst of human behaviour. We saw it from the beginning of the year to the end. And like a deer in the headlights, a lot of the time it was hard to look away. But for every negative action there was a positive reaction. From beginning to end we saw acts of compassion and kindness – from small gestures through to bold protests. Alongside every attempt to divide, steps were taken to bring people together, to build bridges, to make connections. Friendships were made. Bold plans were hatched. Creative impulses were fostered and funded and freed.
When Linda and I took over running RhineBuzz after Caroline West’s tragic death, we talked a lot about what role RhineBuzz should play. We kept coming back to the same phrase – building community. And then, building community through arts, culture and food.
This year, month after month, we’ve watched people come together. We’ve eaten cupcakes together in the park in the middle of summer and eaten goose by candlelight in the middle of winter. We’ve sat shoulder to shoulder in the dark and experienced the magic of operas and ballets, and we’ve quite literally danced in the streets. We’ve shared music composed centuries ago, and music still in its infancy.
Time and time again we’ve watched people come together from all over the world; people from different backgrounds, of different ages, from different professions. We’ve watched conversation flow, worlds expand and we’ve watched new friendships form.
While it’s easy to say this has happened in spite of the background of 2017, I strongly believe it is also because of it. That it has been a year of asking – how do we bring people together? How do we connect? What can each of us do? In 2017 we were reminded that there is no place for apathy.
As you move forward into 2018 we hope that you will remember all that 2017 has given – the new beginnings, the opportunities and the random acts of kindness. We hope you will take time to remember the performances that moved you, the experiences that took you to places you’d never been before, and the people you never expected to meet.
And most of all we hope you will join us again next year, to do it all over again.
Happy New Year!
Fiona & Linda