The Perks of Living in Oberlin (and at Kendal)

This was written by John Picken, immediate past president of the Kendal at Oberlin board of directors. John and his At the Pianowife enjoy living in Oberlin, and shared this story about a recital in December that was especially enjoyable. 

Last Saturday we decided in mid-afternoon to attend one of the three student recitals given that day at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. This happened to be a young woman playing her junior recital. Performance majors do both junior and senior recitals. Since we attend these regularly we anticipated a good performance of good music. John and MaryWhat we witnessed, (Note: you don’t hear live music you witness its creation!): was a spectacular performance by a conservatory junior of Beethoven’s Sonata in F Major followed by; Poulenc’s Sonata for Violoncello and piano, Op.143. The musician was calm, poised, skilled and at one with her instrument. Her performance was at the level of anything we have heard at Carnegie Hall or Alice Tully Hall.

This startling experience prompts several thoughts. First and foremost, this is not an unusual experience! It happens commonly with the large number of excellent musical performances mounted in and by the Oberlin Conservatory. Second, we had decided to attend at a moment’s notice, paid no fee and used no public or private transportation to get there. The recital hall is only a 12 minute walk from Kendal at Oberlin and from our house. We came from a luncheon at a local African American Baptist church. On the way we bought a copy of Through the Looking Glass for a granddaughter and after the recital were home in ten minutes, greeted there by both a martini and our dog! This is Oberlin. Who could ask for anything more?

It happens that the good fortune of Kendal at Oberlin residents in their surroundings, culture, food and activities mirrors ours as citizens of the town. Also, compounding the opportunities that this and similar performances provided, there is a host of other activities in theater, music, dance and lectures, all  within minutes from home, all physically accessible and most free! If you have spent a lifetime riding trains or driving through dark tunnels to enjoy these same life-affirming experiences it may be time to think of how available they are in a college town (perhaps your own college!), in a community full of like-minded people and in an environment that nurtures both your existence and your intellect!

Look at the activities calendars of Oberlin College, of Kendal at Oberlin, and of the surrounding Cleveland area! Come and visit for a few days. See for yourself. We will welcome you and guide you.

To schedule a visit, call Maggie Stark at 440-775-9810.