Thoughts from our Editor: Rise Up Singing

Sun IconSummertime is upon us, and with it comes all the trappings: longer, brighter days, the feel of freshly cut grass beneath your bare feet, the sensation of the sun’s rays warming your skin. The smell of chlorine in the neighborhood pool mixed with the sweet, tropical scent of suntan oil, the sound of childish voices at play, the sight of sandcastles lining the beach, the taste of ice cream enjoyed in the shade – all are synonymous with the onset of our hottest season.

Summertime, and people seem to laugh more, relax more, and frown considerably less than they do in colder months. There’s a greater sense of camaraderie and shared experiences, as individuals and families gather for picnics and celebrations in our parks and on our waterways and strangers become fast friends.

Summertime, and as the old jazz standard goes, “the living is easy.” Indeed, as we first heard from the great songstress Ella Fitzgerald, the “fish are jumping and the cotton is high.”

My favorite line of this George Gershwin tune comes later, however, when Ella tells us, “One of these mornings, you’re going to rise up singing, and you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky.” What a wonderful sentiment is expressed here, this notion that with enough motivation and enthusiasm, we can soar to new heights and expand our horizons.

This is a sentiment shared by many of the people and organizations featured in this edition, the idea they can “rise up singing,” improve their lives, and make their communities a better place.

For example, look at our friends at the Phoenix Arts Center, who’ve risen from humble beginnings to become an established beacon for the cultural arts in Fayette County and the surrounding areas. Fayette isn’t alone in this regard, as the members of the Valley Art Club have been promoting fine arts in the Mon Valley region for two-thirds of a century. Stories on both groups are on pages 15 and 5, respectively.

The aforementioned organizations are only two of the community groups making positive changes in their hometowns, and several more are mentioned in this edition of Pennsylvania Bridges.

I know you’re eager to dive right in, but before I go and let you start reading all the outstanding stories contained within the pages of this issue, I want to take a moment to say “goodbye, thank you, and best wishes as you move forward” to our longtime Faith Columnist, Pastor B.T. Gilligan. In addition to penning his regular, thoughtful commentary on how faith transforms lives, Pastor B.T. has been both a friend and spiritual advisor to my family, and we will miss him dearly. His final column – and his “goodbye” to our readers – is on page 8.

Until next month, Carla E. Anderton