by Andrea Cassutt, Executive Director
I am just back from vacation in the Northwest, where I enjoyed the beauty and wonder of that part of the country. I had great adventures and wonderful conversations. I was intrigued and amazed by how much my musical history and my musical life affected many aspects of my daily experience as I explored places and connected with people. I grew up playing the piano and then the clarinet, have sung now in choirs for more than 30 years, and as the Executive Director of SFYSA and previously through my work at Performance Santa Fe, my life is in many ways oriented around music even though I am not a professional musician. At SFYSA we believe in our vision of creating and nurturing a life long passion and appreciation of music and it is one of many, many benefits of participating with us. I was amazed how much my passion for music affected me everyday while on vacation, and I want to share with you a number of the moments I noticed, and how being part of a community of musicians makes the world a smaller one where one might discover friends anywhere.
My first awareness that I was listening so deeply to the world on my adventure was when I took the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island. I was amazed by the percussive, rhythmic nature of the waves on the hull of the boat. I found myself dancing and captivated. I share a 30 second video here:
Upon arriving on the island, I discovered the Chamber Music festival was happening. Someone in a shop directed me to the bookstore to inquire about schedule and tickets. As you walk into the bookstore, the display that greets you is focused on music – playing it, the elements of music, and the extensive research that shows many ways we are affected by music in our lives and development. It turns out the owner of the bookstore is a flautist. Once a musician, always a musician I think. Music touches our lives differently forever.
The following day I road my bike to the performance center to buy a ticket. Through an amazing series of events, I connected with one of the performing musicians there a day early, whom I'd never met, but with whom I share a mutual musical friend. We ended up taking a bike ride together, sharing great conversation over appetizers, and as a result of that connection, I now had an "in" with other musicians, organizers and audience at the festival concert the following evening.
There were many moments when sounds, music or silence became the entire focus of my awareness. Here are a few more. There was the lapping water on the shore one morning, the falling water of the river...
and the sound and silence during hikes in the gorgeous Moran State Park.
It was on one of those hikes in Moran State Park, that I realized fully my strange, musical reference point and fascination with the sounds of the natural world. I walked right through a spider web with my face. “Eeew” was my first response and then I thought of the potentially cacophonous “sound” I might have made for the spider, having read this amazing article and watched this video.
Admittedly, my solo travel on this trip left me available in an amazing way to interact intimately with each moment. I am so glad to have had this reminder that sound and silence are all around us, there in our daily lives, as the elements of music. My travels reminded me that music adds magic to the way we experience the world.
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Our Mission is to inspire and engage the youth of Northern New Mexico's multicultural communities through excellent music education, the guidance of music professionals, and performance opportunities from small ensemble to full orchestra in Jazz, Mariachi and Orchestra.