Mark Chapman is a 36-year career journalist and is NancyOnNorwalk’s editor.
Sometimes the emotions are immediate. They are triggered by a word, a smell, a sight, and the feelings can overwhelm.
Sometimes it’s more subtle. Sometimes, caught up in the moment, you don’t appreciate the meaning until, in the quiet, dark hours of a midsummer night, the significance of what might have seemed to be perfunctory happening comes rushing in. The light goes on, the wistful smile comes and you just sort of start to notice…
The NoN fundraiser was meant to be a way to stay afloat, to pay the bills as two mid-life (or, in my case, somewhat over-the-hill) journalists try to do it the right way, a throwback to the golden days of local journalism before Kardashians, cat videos and phony local headlines for Search Engine Optimization became the rule.
Thursday night at the Hilton Garden Inn was a good night, helped along by a new wrinkle – a jazz combo led by Mike Camacho, a young Norwalk drummer and jazz studies major at SUNY Purchase. We expected a trio, we got a quartet, with guitar, bass and sax. Value added.
They set up the event in the lobby of the hotel. Nice touch, much better than a function room. There was food, out of sight in a room behind the fireplace to keep the hotel guests from partaking. The band was in front of the fireplace.
The editor was in front of the band.
It dawned on me some 24 hour later that some of the most important parts of my life had come together in that hotel lobby. As I sat by the donation bowl and listened to the band and chatted with visitors, I watched Nancy – the shy young girl I met some 38 years ago, the one who avoided social gatherings like the Ebola virus – worked the room like a pro, smiling, laughing, enjoying her moment. People came by, dropped off their donations and talked about how much they appreciate this news site, which is quickly becoming the culmination of a 30-year dream for me.
And all that jazz.
Four young guys, chasing their own dream of making music, creating, speaking their emotions through their instruments.
That used to be my dream too.
I was one of those young guys in 1971 when I packed up my trombone and headed off to Berklee College of Music in Boston, a hotshot jazz player from Cape Cod ready to show ‘em how it’s done.
The dream had been music and theater, and, after two semesters of being slapped daily by reality, I headed for the other half of the dream. Long story short, that led five years later to meeting Nancy at a New Jersey theater and the need for a steady check. Family dream achieved, career dream crushed.
I became the accidental journalist.
Somewhere along the way the dreams changed. Music lingered, but the spark was lit for publishing a local newspaper that could make a difference, without having to answer to corporate bosses.
The music happened – about 10 years’ worth of cabaret shows, club work and lounges while working fulltime as a journalist. I had dreamed of being a singer while growing up – before the trombone. Performing on cruise ships, in clubs and lounges in New York, Boston, Cape Cod and Florida.
Been there, done that.
And, 24 hours later, as I sat watching four young guys making their music on a YouTube video with sketchy sound, it struck me that the silly old cliché about dreams coming true might just not be such a cliché at all.
We thank all who contribute, all who encourage, all who read. There is still a ways to go, and we cannot do it without you. And we want to continue to do it, to fully realize a dream that a couple of people with a vision and a purpose can achieve success without selling out their values.