Posted by Peter Jones on Jan 04, 2018
This Wednesday we were visited by the Great Bend Center for Music, a nonprofit project that seeks to expand social connections through music.
On January 3rd, Skookum Rotary kicked off the calendar year with a visit from Matthew Blegen, the director of the Great Bend Center for Music.  
Matthew gave a presentation of his thesis, which revolved around the idea of social capitol.  As a rural county, he pointed out that Mason County is strong in bonded social capital; that is, we have a great many connections with like-minded people that reinforce our beliefs.  He then pointed out that bridging social capitol, or connections with people of different beliefs, is more difficult to come by in a rural setting.  Which has its disadvantages, as this is the kind of social capitol that serves as a predictor for things like economic success or disaster survivability.
Enter Great Bend. 
By allowing people to sing together, without preconception as to their belief structure or politics, Great Bend is a testbed for incentivizing an increase to the bridging social capitol of Mason County residents.  Their chorale, youth chorale, and beer choir programs are all focused on enjoying music with one's neighbors. In turn, those neighbors get to know each other as people, and not merely as belief systems.  As a result, we make bridges between us that were not possible in the beginning.