What a year we have behind us… and what a year ahead?

Thinking back: unpredictable, difficult, grateful, uncertain, happy at times. Looking ahead: hopeful, uncertain, full of creativity and new ideas, as well as doubts.

I intended to write without corona in the background. At the same time, I realized that it was not possible… From now on, it is part of our life. It has a role in our work, daily routine, free time, vacation – everything.

We must give “it” a place and learn to live with it. Even better: let’s embrace it and make the best out of it.

Simply reinventing things from the past that – hopefully only for a while – can no longer be done.

HiFi Shows become HiFi Shows 2.0. Concerts and events are transforming into smaller, more intimate gatherings. Digital meetings are here to stay – fortunately combined with real-life, face-to-face meetings.

We are getting creative because there is no other way. Also, because it’s fun! Fun to find new ways to deal with it while discovering how we can gradually do everything again, but differently.

Think about music, audio, events, concerts. Will we be able to go back to mega big shows, festivals, concerts for thousands of people? Maybe not. We will become resourceful, create other kinds of gatherings. Perhaps fewer people, but no less fun – more personal contact, unexpected and appealing combinations.

The past few months have been a foretaste of a new future. Audio events – with musicians. Concerts – with friends from the audio world.  Online working – with personal appointments in between. Traveling – possible, but not too massively. Attending audio shows that are out of reach for now – even only through a recorded video message.

And we do appreciate it. We discover new possibilities and rejoice in small things that we used to take for granted. It seems like our perceptual horizons are widening as physical options may remain limited.

It is so pleasant to meet professional musicians at an audio event in Sweden – who you will see playing at the Concertgebouw a month later. Or to find out – during an online training session with a new distributor in Singapore – that someone on their team is a pianist.

In Poland, we had the chance to meet a famous twin from the jazz scene. And at our own Dutch Audio Event in Veldhoven, last fall, i had the chance to meet audiophile music lovers-or music loving audiophiles, signing CDs at the STS stand.

Successively, more and more shows are announced worldwide. These come with rules and uncertainties, nonetheless. However, there is also a palpable warm feeling that comes along. Florida, Montreal, Munich, Melbourne – to mention only some of the big events and shows.

We also see more and more reviewers going out, traveling themselves, to find scoops from manufacturers. Dealers and high-end audio stores organize smaller listening sessions during weekends, inviting customers, friends, and manufacturers. Museums and concert halls are adapting, embracing the possibilities, and creating our new reality.

We are fully anticipating getting back to meeting our partners, friends, fans and bringing out the little coffee machine that has served so often in Munich and other show venues during the loudest-sounding tracks such as AC&DC.

Playing piano every day could be good practice while waiting for the opportunity to play it live. Sure enough, there is always fun in creating new playlists with cool and modern tracks as input from our increasingly younger team. And, in seeing our – now in their twenties – kids listening to Mahler at the Concertgebouw.

To return to the idea that I started with – we are hopeful and cautiously happy. Hopeful because it is becoming increasingly clear how we can move forward. And cautiously happy because we can make a new reality beautiful, exciting, and full of music.

Gabi and Edwin Rynveld (Concertgebouworkest, 2021)
Gabi Rynveld with Olaf Sturm (Chief Editor i-fidelity.net) and Werner Kempf (IAH Sales Manager Germany)
Gabi Rynveld with Viktor de Leeuw (IAH Operations Director) and Olaf Sturm (Chief Editor i-fidelity.net)
CrystalConnect – by Crystal Cable introduced at Tokyo Audio Show 2021
Gabi Rynveld and Peter de Leeuw (IAH Sales & Marketing) at the Take5 event in Sweden, 2021
Gabi and Edwin Rynveld with Siltech’s partner in Poland, 2021