This is Henry Hetz, the Co-Business Manager of The Vineyard Sound this year! It’s my third year, so you might think I’d seen it all, but Martha’s Vineyard has a way of changing my life every summer.
In short, what a BM (or Business Manager, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) does in-season is express and exemplify the standards for the new guys, strategize further financial growth for the group at large, and continue to foster relationships with island friends and organizations while seeking new ones. This includes making the weekly schedule, answering phone calls/emails from customers, ensuring that the guys are ready to leave for a performance on time and in full Vineyard Vines dress, and constantly updating a truly comical amount of spreadsheets. On paper, it seems rather simple--maybe even a little boring--and sometimes it is. And under the guise of bright pastels, snaps, and smiles, it can be easy to get the wrong idea about what it is we aim to give the island each year. But at the end of the day, all the numbers, schedules, and melatonin-decreasing blue computer light amount to nothing compared to the experiences we have with folks all across the island.
Back in my first year, in June of ‘15, I wound up performing a few impromptu songs for two newly-weds at Menemsha. At the time it barely registered (I was just trying to stay in tune…) but three weeks later this same married couple found us performing on the street and expressed that we had made their whole wedding with that simple tune we gave them as the Menemsha sun set in the West. I began to get a glimpse of how ingrained in people’s lives The Vineyard Sound can be. Just yesterday I met a wonderful Vineyard Vines employee--Harry--who told me my experience of singing with VS while chasing my Master’s degree in acting at Brown/Trinity Rep inspired him to join his high school a cappella group and audition for theater (he snagged a lead role in a production this past spring by the way!). And about a month ago, VS ‘18 had the honor of singing Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder and Change In My Life from Rockappella for a long-time fan who had recently begun battling a serious illness. She told us Change In My Life--one of our most important standards each summer--represented the love and change she harbors, even in these most trying of times. Needless to say, the experience was unique and impacted us all quite viscerally. All of our hearts go out to her, her family, and all her loved ones.
As important as Change In My Life is to us and our alumni, it is just as important to hundreds more. And the knowledge that we have the opportunity each summer to touch so many lives through our joy and music is a tremendous and beautiful responsibility. The song says it best:
But with you I belong
Because you helped me be strong
There’s a change in my life since you came along
Thank you for all the warmth and love, Martha’s Vineyard,