Geoffrey Berwind’s memories of his grandparents Nat and Rose feature the music stand in a starring role. After Sunday afternoon lunches filled with laughter and capped with decadent sticky buns, Geoffrey and Rose would play along to her vast collection of classical LPs. With sincerity and passion – if not expertise – Rose played the cello and Geoffrey the viola. Maybe Schubert’s Trout Quintet was on the stereo, or perhaps a slow movement by Beethoven, who “was her God.” Geoffrey recalls that Rose rarely used the music stand but it was a constant presence in the house and deeply cherished.
Largely raised by his grandparents, Rose and Nat’s home was Geoffrey’s safe haven. For him, the music stand became an ongoing symbol of their love and support. “If I’m looking at the music stand,” says Geoffrey, “I’m looking at the people who gave me my life.” The piece has also become an embodiment of some of the core personal values – beauty, friendship, nature, connection – that Geoffrey developed against a backdrop of Esherick works. When Nat and Rose were looking to part with the Esherick works in their home, they were pleasantly surprised by Geoffrey’s desire to give them a second life. The music stand is the last piece that Geoffrey has parted with because it is so personal.
Geoffrey sees WEM as the work’s natural home, and its return as a homecoming to the site where it was made as well as to one of his own “heart homes.” For Geoffrey, the music stand is “so much greater than its label.” It is not just a functional piece of furniture. It’s a lyrical sculpture, an embodiment of grace, a representation of his grandparents, and a teller of tales.