MeetUps Bring People Together for All Sorts of Great Reasons

Jeff plays the G horn, used in marching bands.
Jeff plays the G horn, used in marching bands.
In a Northampton apartment, we played jazz standards on a Monday night.
In a Northampton apartment, we played jazz standards on a Monday night.

Serendipity brought me something on Facebook that turned into something by email that lead me last night to a group of musicians who play jazz in a Northampton apartment every Monday night. It was a Meet Up ,and I now realize that I have former Vermont Governor Howard Dean to thank for that. I read a story about the origins of MeetUp.com and found out that this New York City start-up got momentum after they met with the politician and his chief strategist, Joe Trippi, and created the first very effective grassroots political campaign.  Too bad that after a primary win, we heard Dean’s famous scream and then it was all over for Howard. But not for MeetUp.

So I replied that yes, I’d like to join you guys and play drums with you.  So I sought out the address and found myself playing a pretty good rendition of the Bossa nova classic Desafinado with two saxaphones, a fiddle, two guitars and me on a small drum kit. Those two guys on the sax really hit the nail on the head. Later our host, Jeff, took out one of his three G Horns, which he explained are no longer made, and blew some sweet notes on a few other jazz standards like “Have you Met Miss Jones?”  and “Sea Journey.”

Playing music has become such an important part of my life–my regular Wednesday night rock and roll jams are something I rarely miss unless I’m out of town. The men who I play with are all, without exception, high quality men, who I admire and enjoy.  I thought about another thing that makes me so fond of all of them–they all are masters of their own field,  don’t have criminal records, tattoos, they don’t have sad sack stories about their fallen careers or love lives, or people who are chasing after them for rent, child support or broken laws.

Instead, they are all–to a man–upstanding citizens who love making music with their friends and are great examples of lives well lead for their kids and grand kids.

I spend too much time during the week inside my house, after spending the whole day in my house working. I have been feeling like I need more places to go, things to do, people to see and interact with.  Maybe Mondays will take on the same tradition as Wednesdays, or who knows what other meet-ups are happening.

I heard about another MeetUp that happens at the Forbes Library, it’s all about laughter. A group of people get together every week to make each other laugh. Really.  MeetUp has so many different groups–now if I can find a group that is looking for Bridge players, well, I will be even happier.

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