Today, while running errands, stymied by Bodum's rennovation and, in general slowed by tourists, I noticed that throughout the city were pockets of teens and young ones, playing music.
It is not as if music is never played in the streets of Zürich. Indeed, visiting fans of the Euro will be greeted by busking accordian and guitar players (though, if these musicians are in the "Fan Zone" their earnings will probably only be spendable on Coke and Carlsburg products) What surprised me was how many they were and how young they were. Finally, I stopped to get a closer look. A young group were just beginning a beautiful piece, all of them playing violin, in various levels of ability. They each had a sign on their music stand that said "JA!"
At first I thought that these sweet young musicians were just positive people. It was actually in that exact square when my path crossed the laughing day parade a few weeks ago. (I believe that I have already blogged about this unsettling group that march through the city forcing themselves to laugh the whole way.) A moment later my question was answered as two women approached me with clipboards and pamphlets and information on how I can vote in order to help these children recieve more funding for music instruction in their schools.
I shall now admit a guilty secret. Typically, when I am approached by anyone in the street with a clipboard and pamphlets I respond in my best Southern American accent "Ah'm sorry. Ah'm not from around here." his time, however, I took the information and thanked them for their efforts. The rest of my boring Saturday tasks had a lovely soundtrack and I was pleased.
Later, when speaking to my mother and describing it, I said "They were playing to stop the government taking away funding for music programs." I then needed to correct myself. That wasn't right. Their music stands had told us to vote "ja" on the proposition, afterall. I realized that in my american mind, I had instantly and automatically rebuilt the situation to fit what is now normal in the states. This idea of the arts as being irrelevant, when funding is concerned.