There is within the borders of Stoughton a parchment-wrapped record book that states on its first page: “This Book belongs to the Stoughton Musical Society and contains the Rules and Regulations whereby the said Society are governed.” It is dated November 7, 1786, making ours the oldest choral musical society in the United States today.
Why is this important? History is certainly part of it. Stoughton is also one of the oldest towns in America, founded by pilgrims and pioneers who wanted to escape the intolerances of Europe at that time. The tradition continues today. Stoughton famously was the first in Massachusetts to declare itself a “No Place for Hate” town. We have this incredible capacity to be accepting of other people – which is just another way of saying, I think, that we like to be neighborly.
I see that neighborly spirit every day. Copley at Stoughton is not like many of the other nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. We are much more rooted in community than most. Certainly the fact that we are independent helps. But also the Stoughton spirit permeates the town and everyone in it including Copley. And we are all better for that.
The reason I’m musing on all of this is because we are still going through difficult times. The recent wave seems even harder this time because, well, it’s just been going on so long. We thought we saw light, but it was just a glimpse.
You might wonder why I’m confident we’ll get through it though. I try to imagine the hardships those first pilgrims endured, leaving England for the long ocean voyage to Boston and then heading south through forest and the wilds to stop here in what would become Stoughton. I get so much inspiration from their story, traveling out into the unknown with an open heart. Did it feel like home when they got here? What difficulties did they face? How did they band together to come through the other side okay?
Because they did come out okay, or we wouldn’t be here today. And, we came out of it with the harmonies of the Old Stoughton Musical Society. There is a lesson in that. We come from stronger stuff than we think.
Thank you to all for your words of support over the last several months. And, I hope, we have been a source of support for you too. The health and safety of your loved ones here at Copely are our number one concern, and it’s a responsibility we take seriously. Let’s keep leaning on each other just a little bit longer until the light stays with us for good.
– Steve Tyer