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Sara’s Diary, Day 65 without baseball: Organ music returns to Waveland

Friday evening’s hour long practice session for John Benedeck was comfort for my soul

Steve Green/Chicago Cubs

It was another long and mostly uneventful quarantine week in Wrigleyville. I had read on Twitter that one of the three new Cubs organists would be playing on Friday but I didn’t know the time. I certainly didn’t put it on my calendar. It was a matter of pure luck that the sun broke through the clouds around 4:30 p.m. and I decided I needed to take a walk and get some fresh air.

My usual route takes me up Waveland and then I make a game time decision about where to go, sometimes I turn on Sheffield, other times I continue up to Southport. Yesterday about a block away from Murphy’s Bleachers I heard the unmistakable sound of the Lowery Organ at Wrigley Field and my heart soared as I remembered one of the new organists, John Benedeck, was practicing for an hour.

I had to capture it and decided to share it on Twitter. I pulled my mask down and quickly realized I was about to cry, so I just turned the camera around and let the organ sing for itself:

I hit pause on my walk, sat down on the sidewalk a safe distance from everyone else and just listened for a while. It was healing in a way that I cannot put into words. Luckily for me, people who have studied this at Harvard have put it into words and music as therapy is real. One of the places music therapy is particularly useful is easing anxiety and discomfort.

As Benedeck continued playing I heard a familiar voice call my name from across the street. It was so great to see Michael Bolling, who hosts social media shows on YouTube for the Cubs. We kept our masks on and stayed six feet apart, but I can’t even tell you how fun it was to have a conversation with a baseball friend again. I can count on one hand the number of people I’d run into prior to yesterday and I hadn’t even realized how lonely I was until that moment:

Running into friends in the neighborhood - socially distanced, of course
Sara Sanchez

Michael wasn’t the only person I ran into. I’d foolishly sat down before I got to Ballhawk Corner at Waveland and Kenmore where the real action was happening. Luckily, a friend saw me and called me over. The entire bleacher crew was there and Danny Rockett was live streaming the concert for fans — here’s the whole stream if you want to watch. They had even streamed in our friend Crawly from the burbs. It was almost like a normal day in May, except we were all wearing masks and staying six feet apart. I was so thrilled to be around my people again that I even joined in as they started dancing in the street when Benedeck played Sweet Caroline. No, I did not take video of that.

For one hour as the music echoed around the 106-year-old ballpark on the North Side of Chicago residents, walkers, joggers and friends were able to come together around something we all love and miss dearly. Almost everyone I saw was behaving responsibly, but just so grateful for a moment of normalcy and community.

The evening wrapped up perfectly as Benedeck ended his set with “What a Wonderful World.”