To the Editor:
With Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa almost upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on generosity, and it’s especially satisfying to do so in the context of our town.
Much of that generosity occurs as regularly as these holidays: the Wilton Singers’ concert that fundraises for scholarships for graduating Wilton High School students; Giving Tuesday, which is so well supported all over our town; and the special programs at, among other venues, the Wilton Library, Wilton Historical Society, the Wilton YMCA and Ambler Farm, and in our Wilton Schools.
Space here allows me to focus on only a few of these generous actions and events, but I’ll add a resulting personal epiphany.
Wilton Kiwanis invited Brian Amero, ASML’s Community and Employee Engagement Specialist (Wilton), to thank him for ASML’s generosity to a number of recent Wilton charitable endeavors and to ask him to explain what exactly it is that ASML does. We’ve all come to know that that is not an easy question to answer.
However in general terms, as Brian explained well, ASML makes the machines that make the most complex parts (the microchips) of just about all of the electronic devices that populate our lives — cellphones and laptops, Alexa and Siri, and all of those AI-enabled devices that are part of the “internet-of-things” that surrounds us. ASML’s machines use highly advanced principles of optics that take tolerances down to the atomic level, enabling massive computing and operating power to be concentrated within very small spaces. Brian wisely offered no market share estimates for ASML in that machine market, but various reports place its share at anywhere from 80% to 90% of the total market.
Brian described ASML’s complex in Wilton as filled with engineers, scientists, technicians, and fabricators of the highest caliber with plans to add 1,000 more such skilled workers and invest an additional $200 million right here in Wilton. Even now he reports that Wilton is the second largest center for ASML’s work worldwide, with the largest facility presently at ASML’s headquarters located in a town in The Netherlands that he describes as quite similar to Wilton.
Brian comes from a background of senior executive positions at nonprofits, and the addition of his special skillset to all those technical ones already at ASML was done with the specific intention of engaging ASML and its employees in the life of our community. Brian has been carrying out that objective with focused planning and great energy. His efforts range from linking ASML’s giving to local nonprofits and their work, to encouraging ASML employees to volunteer for meal packaging, tree planting, and helping build homes for those in need. There is a special richness in ASML’s very intentional decision to engage more actively in direct involvement with the Wilton community
My epiphany previously mentioned came from attending the Wilton Singers’ extraordinary Holiday Concert 10 days ago. The Wilton Singers’ 35 singers and nine accompanists under the direction of Kevin Cotellese filled the evening with gloriously evocative classical pieces like “Evergreen Tree” (with piano and string accompaniment) and also with wonderfully exhilarating pop songs like “This Christmas” (with lively jazz-ensemble accompaniment). The concert also included performances by the remarkable 29-member Wilton High School Madrigals under the direction of William Mandelbaum, offering the reflective “O Magnum Mysterium,” the uplifting “Eyze Sheleg!” from “Five Hebrew Love Songs,” and the fascinating and rhythmically complex “White Winter Hymnal.” It made for quite an evening!
The Madrigals will be performing again this Wednesday, Dec. 14 at a special Wilton Kiwanis luncheon at the WEPCO Church Complex.
In their opening remarks, Wilton Singers’ emcees (as well as singers) Janet Nobles and her son Steffen identified the number of family members present among the Singers — father/son, mother/son, husband/wife, and two sisters — and called the concert “a family affair.” At the end of the concert, Janet generalized that statement to all of us in the audience: We are family who’ve joined together to celebrate the season in community.
I’d take that generalization further to extend it to all of Wilton. I wouldn’t be so Wilton chauvinistic as to suggest that the community spirit found here is by any means unique to Wilton. But I do suggest that it is especially deep, longstanding, and rich here. To have ASML join in our life in community so actively now is a special gift to us all.
And we can be grateful indeed for that gift and for the community that binds all of us together in the best of ways.