Putting his heart back in it

On a Friday night last November, Joshua Silva took the stage at Out of the Loop, The Tyler Loop’s live storytelling event. He recounted a story about losing his sister and his fight at Robert E. Lee High School to end the r-word. This story brought me to tears every time Joshua practiced it. But that night, I couldn’t help but smile, seeing Joshua in his high school band uniform. He was in costume because, minutes after his story, he rushed from Liberty Hall’s stage to Rose Stadium for yet another performance, this time with his saxophone.

In that moment, no one could have predicted the months to come — how we all took for granted the crowding and congregating in theaters and stadiums. It is less surprising, though, that Joshua, now graduated, is still loving and learning from music.

Hearing how Joshua is coping with Covid was a breath of fresh air. Amid stories of loss and difficulty, Joshua provided a pandemic-related upside: time to regroup and put his heart back into the thing he loves.

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Jane Neal is the executive director of The Tyler Loop and storytelling director of Out of the Loop: True Stories about Tyler and East Texas. In addition to the Loop, she works at the Literacy Council of Tyler and attends Sam Houston State University remotely, where she studies sociology. Jane is a certified interfaith spiritual guide. She is a member of Leadership Tyler Class 33 and a former teacher of French at Robert E. Lee High School, where she ran a storytelling program called Senior Stories. Jane and her husband Don have four children.