The Unexpected Present

The Healing Power of Music

BobFest Yuri on stage

Normally (sixteen years), at this time of year, Memorial Day Weekend, Yuri and I would recount how the latest BobFest show has gone. Pat Guadagno and Tired Horses’ BobFest was a reunion for some of the best working musicians– New Jersey’s finest– to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday and music. Pat Guadagno brought the band together, Tired Horses, but they were anything but tired. Their energetic performances brought crowds to their feet at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, sharing and reveling in live music by the players, singers, and special guests. Ardent fans love hearing their all-time favorites.

However, we all missed BobFest 2020 because of the Covid lock down. And the past two years were brutally harrowing for Yuri and me as we had been tortured and held hostage by the spike protein from the Pfizer vaccine that no one in the pharmaceutical field wants to talk about. PTSD (or PICS– Post ICU Syndrome). Real, not rare is the case. While Yuri miraculously survived two near-death experiences, he still has not fully recovered.

Unexplainable fatigue overcomes his physicality, where his endurance was renowned, and neurotransmitters –the spark between the brain and fingertips –keep missing their connection. It’s like trained specialists are missing their mark; their timing is off, and his brain clock keeps ticking but cannot concatenate the technical for music to resonate. Yuri is frustrated. Music is his life’s purpose, and this physical impediment keeps him from what he wants to be doing, the only thing he wants to be doing – playing music and playing music to an audience.

Some people may think it’s easy to get on with life (he did survive while so many others did not). How could it possibly be easy not to do what one is meant to be doing? The performers at this year’s BobFest (coming up on May 31) understand this very well. Why else would they still be getting together, rehearsing, coming together, taking time from their personal lives, making an effort, and giving it all?

Five years ago, at the 20th BobFest celebration, Yuri was asked to open the 2018 show. He wrestled with how he would approach the open– attack, the beginning buildup of a note; his five string electric violin expressed all of its frequencies and differences in the onset of the harmonics remaining at their peak loudness until they start to disappear. It was a spectacular moment for him that year. A very proud moment for me as I shot the video footage reminding myself to keep steady and not tremble.

Those notes he was pulled and held onto hung over a captivated audience. The tone and structure. His bow and the technical movements held fast yet with a light touch. Then he took it out– sending those notes to the high heavens before the time came to pull them back to earth and come together for the opening licks and Pat’s words of “Hurricane.” It was Yuri’s moment, and I will never forget it, especially when the present day frustration sometimes feels overwhelming. However, I do not doubt that he will come back to play his violin the way he did that night.

On May 31, we will send our good wishes to the 25th BobFest show. Every year there may be a few missing persons. We are among the missing in action at the moment, working to get Yuri back fully recovered, strong, and within reach of overcoming this adversity. It may take a little longer, but I firmly believe he will return to playing the way he has. After all, it is his life’s purpose. And music is healing.

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