June 28th’s Fourth Friday Mix concert at Ruggero Piano – you may see the details here – marks a significant milestone in our community. Normally, we’d list a pending event like this in the calendar and let readers decide to attend – or not – but this time we must praise Richard and Deborah Ruggero and Eric Hale and Sue Timmons for their vision in establishing this series of concerts ten years ago and for sustaining it for musicians and music lovers in the Triangle ever since. At these concerts, students, amateurs, and professionals, too, may offer their art before encouraging and supportive listeners in a comfortable and non-threatening setting where even critics who show up immediately sense how precious the whole business is as a cradle for artists at all levels. There are lots of places where professionals play and sing. There are lots of places for students. But there’s literally noting else like Richard’s series anywhere around here, for sure!

Richard put it this way in his announcement of this June program:

“Yes, you read the announcement correctly. It is our 10th anniversary! It is hard to believe, but a decade has passed since Eric Hale and I agreed to work together to create what has turned out to be one of Raleigh’s longer running concert series, the 4th Friday Mix. Our responsibilities have remained well-defined over the years. Eric is our emcee, opens each show with a song of his choosing, and schedules the programs. I make our concert hall available, tune the piano, and record each event; and my wife, Deborah, lovingly provides the food and drink for everyone after each concert. Then, there is Sue Timmons, the final member of our dedicated team. She has volunteered tirelessly for the entire 10 years as our accompanist, learning pieces for Eric and other performers that needed her services. More recently, Bernie Grunwald has volunteered to record each event, taking the pressure off of me. Thanks Bernie! Many thanks to all of the above and to all of the performers who have volunteered their time to enrich our community by sharing their gifts. Finally, thanks to our wonderful audience who have been so faithful throughout the years. In honor of our 10th year, Eric has scheduled a wonderful night of music.Deborah and I hope you will be able to join us. Musically, Richard Ruggero.”

And did I say it’s free?

Thank you, Richard, Deborah, Eric, Sue, Bernie, and all the long-term attendees. Here’s for another 10 years, at least!

John Lambert

(Edited/updated 6/30/13)