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A message from our Founding Director

Dear friends,

I hope you all are safe and well, in both body and mind, as you deal with the unprecedented changes to our communities, and to the world as a whole.

I have been watching the global COVID-19 crisis unfold, far from my Seattle home, in São Paulo, Brazil. I arrived here in mid-February for a few weeks to research a new composition about endangered plants in the Amazon. After a series of cancelled flights, in mid-March I decided it was safest to avoid traveling back to Seattle through New York City. As I write this, it appears the earliest I’ll be able to return home is the beginning of June. I find it very strange to be so far from home, but I have friends and plenty of support here – and I am safe and well.

From afar, I’ve seen news about three members of The Esoterics, and several other friends including two regular audience members, who contracted the virus and – thankfully! – recovered. Sadly, Naomi Munakata, my friend and colleague here in São Paulo, died a week ago from complications due to coronavirus. Naomi was the conductor of several accomplished choirs in Brazil, and her death is huge for this community. Many other communities throughout the world are being devastated by similar losses. Clearly, COVID-19 isn’t finished with us yet. When it is, it will have changed us all.

The pandemic arrived in Seattle just as we were about to announce The Esoterics’ 2020 concert season. Sadly but not surprisingly, the board and I decided to postpone our concerts for the first half of the year, and hope to resume rehearsals in the late summer for concerts in the fall.

In the meantime, The Esoterics, like so many communities, are learning to forge our way in this new “virtual” world. We’ve started meeting regularly using Zoom, and we’re considering several options to stay connected with each other and with you. Among other possibilities, we’re considering live and edited online “performances,” an interactive sight-singing class open to singers and audience alike, and curated online concerts of recently commissioned repertoire with concurrent composer commentary. When we figure out what we can offer, we’ll let you know.

If you are missing The Esoterics as much as we are missing you, please have a look at our Facebook page. Every day in April, I will post a different piece from our collection of archival recordings, along with my own program notes and some personal reflections on this music.  Also, if you can, please consider making a donation to The Esoterics or ANY of the many COVID-19 relief funds that are serving at the local or national level. More than ever before, the arts need us as we need each other. Thank you so much for your support.

We look forward to making music together again, and sharing it with you, as soon as we can. Please stay safe and well, and please: keep in touch.

Eric Banks | Founding Director