This simple photo has become a gauge for measuring personal growth over a period of months. Thanks, W, for capturing it for me. It's just starting to make sense how some of this year's experiences have perfectly positioned me for where I am now.
The quest for "my people" brought me to Maine earlier this summer to study with Deborah Henson-Conant (far right), a break-the-barriers harpist I have been following for over a decade. The workshop was intensely introspective, digging deep into how you want to show up as a performer, your relationship with the audience, and the nature of the work you want to bring to the world. Though very painful work at times (on so many levels!), it spurred the beginnings of a launch pad -- a foundation -- from (for me) virtually nothing. All the workshop participants, from all walks of life, became buoys for each other.
On my left (your right) in the hat is C -- I had the privelege of watching her receive an award at Lyon & Healy's Harpfest several weeks later in Utah for a performance she began crafting while we were in Maine. She showed up as her creative, authentic self -- she is a shining example of how great are the rewards when you expose your soul.
On my right (your left) is S -- we met in Maine and picked up and expanded upon our relationship in Utah. We consistently stayed up late discussing the details of the Jazz Harp Foundation that she and B had been formulating for months. At the official launch of the program at Harpfest, they announced their decision of my being the first member on the board of affiliates. We are working on expanding the foundation whose really beautiful tagline reads: "enriching the harp world with jazz and the jazz world with harp." More news soon on the very important work we are doing.
It was in Maine that I first exposed some compositions that I have been working on. There is nothing more terrifying than pushing out personal work into the world when any or all factors are present; 1) your personal / emotional world is a swirling chaotic nightmare, 2) you're in the company of other very accomplished musicians who know your instrument inside and out, 3) you're in the company of one whose work you have admired for years. Nevertheless, I received the validation I've desperately needed and never before experienced as I muddled through my presentation.
I have always wanted to perform with Deborah Henson-Conant --
pulling together final performance details.