We will gather together again someday
Many of the people reading this column will have visited the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on a concert night, a high school graduation, a free concert or a small community gathering among the flowers in the social courtyard. Perhaps a few of you noticed an engraving on a rock just after entering. It’s a message we find extremely pertinent today:
“The world is not a lonely place, there is light and life and love enough for all of us,”
– Gerald R. Ford
When the Vail Valley Foundation dedicated the Amphitheater to President Ford on its opening day in 1987, and every day since, it has been this aspect of President Ford and his family, expressed above, that we sought most to capture.
Right now our community is doing the right thing by physical distancing, but in doing so, we are revealing something essential about human behavior: we love and need to gather together. In fact, coming together is an essential part of what it means to be human.
In our community, such gathering places as the Ford Amphitheater and the Vilar Performing Arts Center, both managed by the VVF, allow us to fulfill that need, to renew bonds with old friends and acquaintances even as we make new connections with all the many people from around the world who know and understand that they, too, are valued members of our collective identity. Looking back, it seems clear that so much of the adhesive magic that holds our society together is created in the shared experiences available only in those countless moments, small and grand, that make our performance spaces such integral aspects of life here.
At the Vail Valley Foundation, we feel it is one of our most solemn responsibilities to care for and maintain such places, and to extend a welcoming invitation to all who want to come join us and commune at our venues.
Now is not a time where we are able to extend such invitations, and yet we remain hopeful and optimistic that those days will come soon. When they do, it will be only when it is in the interest of public health, and in keeping with good sense. We look forward to the day we can open our doors, turn on the lights, and lead the way back again to the moments, memories, and performances that ultimately play such a large role in bringing us all together.
Today we also want to share something exciting and new with you. When we do gather together again at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, it will be with a new and refreshing look and feel, a brand new logo, and a renewed effort from all of us at the Vail Valley Foundation to celebrate the Ford Amphitheater as an incredible summertime jewel of our community.
We have so much more to show you, and tell you, about our refreshed vision of this cherished place we are so lucky to have right here in our valley. We also have many people to thank, not least of all 970 Designs, the local firm who worked with us every step of the way to create this new brand identity. The Town of Vail, the board of directors and staff of the VVF, Zerhen Architects, and all the many people who have built, maintained, cared for and loved this venue through all it’s 30-plus years.
It’s true our intention was to roll this out during a lively summer full of events. We don’t know yet what our summer will look like, but we wanted this community to know that many good times are ahead, many beautiful summer evenings filled with music, dance, laughter and connection still await us, and when we do see each other again, it will be a refreshed view of life, an appreciation of the wonderful colors of nature, and a love for the beautiful artistry that humankind is so fortunately capable of.
We will get together again someday. Someday soon, we hope. Whenever that day comes, we look forward to it with all our hearts.