I’ve been on a hiatus from “The Sun Chronicles”, but I’m back! The last few months have treated me well and I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to share my gift of song in locations ranging from Berkeley, CA to Durham, NC. During my down time recently I reflected on warm memories from these experiences that centered on the breadth of amazing people I met along the way.
I still see the faces of the family who attended my concert at the California Jazz Conservatory and graciously introduced themselves to me afterwards. The older son was writing a concert review for a class assignment and chose to come see me. I was extremely honored to say the least. He even told me he is a young musician and found some inspiration in my performance. Now if that did not make my night nothing else did!
Another memory that stays with me is from my gig with the Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. I had the unique opportunity to narrate “Peter and the Wolf” and sing a few songs to thousands of young kids. Their attentiveness, excitement and energy transferred onto the stage with me. I found myself smiling often when I saw the visceral reactions by many of the students to the story or when they sang along with me to a beautiful song called “Twilight.” After the conclusion of the show I got the chance to “Hi-five” the students as they exited the auditorium and their faces beamed. I was instantly transported back to a time when I was an elementary school student attending a performance of “The Magic Flute” in downtown Chicago. I remember sitting there in awe of the sheer beauty of the music and longing to be on that stage one day. As I looked into the smiling faces of the kids exiting the auditorium, I prayed that “Peter and the Wolf” represented the same for them and I felt humbled to be a part of it.
Finally, I was invited to be a special guest in a class ran by a local blogger/music lover extraordinaire, Peter Burke, focused on “Jazz in the Triangle Area”. Peter introduced my music/artistry to his mature students which included a mix of Youtube videos of my performances, songs from my album and a Q&A session. I rarely watch my performances on video and/or listen to my own music, but I was amazed at the response from the students as they applauded and voiced their approval. In addition, they asked me extremely thought-provoking questions full of depth which was a breath of fresh air for me. Not to mention I was able to learn a lot about Peter’s students ranging from their personal backgrounds to their love of jazz. I left the class inspired and grateful for being able to live my dream.
In conclusion, as a jazz artist I am primarily focused on evolving my artistry and musicianship, but an integral component of why I love what I do is connecting with other music lovers who happen to support my dream. Nothing is better than making eye contact with an audience member during a performance and sharing that sacred moment. However, it gets even better when I’m able to speak with that person after the performance and connect further. It genuinely warms my heart every time.