The last days were busy in this corner of the world!
On Sunday I had my first outreach event for the New Worlds Project: I performed at the Panther Creek Senior and Community Center in Otis, joining the community for their monthly breakfast gathering.
I got at Panther Creek at 7:40, thanks to the kind Tamara from the Sitka Staff, who gave me a ride trough the golden early morning mists.
The lovely volunteers of the centre were waiting for me, and had prepared a space in the room where to set up my chair and cello. At around 8 people started to come in, and soon the hall was crowded and the kitchen in full swing!
Tom and I joined the breakfast fever with some tunes from Good Ol’ Johannes Sebastian Bach and a small selection of my works 🙂
The participation from the audience was sweet and warm.
As I did breaks in-between sets, people would come cheering, asking about my work and travels, telling me what a particular tune had reminded them or that they were involved in some music making themselves. It was lovely to get directly to the chitchat thanks to the informal, homey atmosphere, and to hear the stories of different families, some of them involved in art or connected with the Sitka Centre.
I played a brand new version of my song “Monk Seal’s Home”, inspired by my friend Luigi Bundone’s research on Mediterranean Monk Seals. After the performance, a kind man told me it reminded him of his Sicilian relatives, who came to the US running away from the rising fascist regime. They were fishermen.
I didn’t tell him that my grandpa, who is now 100 years old, is from Sicily himself and he was there too in those dreadful years.
As I went through the morning, I realized more and more that, as hard as it can be to bring acoustic chamber music to an unexpected venue like a breakfast hall&kitchen, that’s exactly where it should be – close to people. There where it can reach out, trigger memories, start connections and storytelling.
And how cool is that, that even in the hall full of chatting people, catching up with neighbors and friends, eating and drinking and cooking, the voices and the noise followed somehow my pianos and fortes? And that when I sang, I felt the attention becoming even more subtle?
They were listening and listening hard, to hear me through the noise. It was pretty cool to realize that! I think Bach would have liked it too…
…and I am quite sure he would have loved pancakes (what a wonderful invention!).
I had a yummy American breakfast myself, offered by the Centre in-between sets, and Diane from the Staff came to me with the loveliest thanks card -signed and noted by many people who wanted to thank me for the music and sharing. It is a real treasure I will hold dear!
I want to thank the Sitka Centre, The Panther Creek Senior and Community Centre and the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation supporting the New Worlds Project, for this fantastic opportunity to meet my local community here.
In times of separation and division, bringing together folks from different cultures and places for a nice chat is refreshing -calls back that old cozy, familiar feeling of “oh yeah… this is people, like us. Same cloth”
Cause that’s what we are, no matter how many crazy barbed-wired borders in between.
Our time needs this and music helps figuring it out, by speaking every tongue alike… so I am happy to be doing what I am doing, here, now.
Another cool news, is that Tom and I are proudly becoming weekly regulars at the most welcoming, friendly and fun bluegrass jam session ever! Down in Lincoln City, at the Eagles Lodge every Tuesday night.
I am joining the group thanks to Bobbie, and incredible music teacher at Nestucca Valley School, who’s an old time regular herself, and kindly offers me rides back and forth from Sitka.
Bobbie also helped me outlining my first activities with Nestucca’s pupils, which will happen this Friday, March 6th!
I will meet 3 groups of children aged 6, 7 and 8. I will perform a bit of mixed cello and cello+voice repertoire for them, and then we’ll do some interactive games with music, movement and sounds. Bobbie will be working with me and other teachers from the school will join, as well as Nicola Harrison from the Sitka Staff. I can’t wait!
I am very happy and proud to bring the work of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and of their MUS-E Project to North America for the first time. It is a honor to act as their ambassador and I am very grateful for this opportunity!
Sitka’s community is changing together with the season, and lovely Ingrid left this week towards her next adventures. I am glad I had the chance to say a nice goodbye -and bring her some traditional Italian crostata as a departure treat. I had a lovely time with her and hope we’ll cross paths again soon. Thank you Ingrid!
Meanwhile, Ebenezer Galluzzo and Joanna Pristley joined the Sitka residents crew! Ebenezer is a photographer and Joanna an animator, and they both come from Portland. I am very excited to get to know them and find out more about their amazing work!
And on March 21st, it will be time for a special show – Joanna will have a retrospective of her shorts and a world premiere for her new movie Jung and Restless at the Bijou Theatre in Lincoln City… and I will have the fantastic chance to open the event with my music.
Below you find the event flyer!
“Getting myself out there”, is what I am doing now full force -with my project “New Worlds”, through every single outreach event, by writing and performing new music, by setting up a crowdfunding when I have always had a hard time asking for any kind of help…
It is BIG life school, every step brings a whole new landscape in sight -and it is a long path the one stretching ahead!
I guess it is good then, that I like to walk 🙂
“Talking about the devil, here come the horns” as we say back home… well, my Crowdfunding Campaign is struggling to start! I then ask everybody a bit of help spreading the news of it, so that it may eventually reach those people interested and able to help out. Every tiny bit matters!
I am grateful for any support you can give, even if it is just bringing up the news with family and friends. I am sure that out there, there are the resourceful curious souls that can help this project take fly! We just have to find them!
I found out just yesterday how much the CoronaVirus is effecting Italy, my home country. Friends and supporters who would be normally backing up my project are now dealing with much more pressing matters… I can’t imagine Rome’s schools and universities shut down, and the museums and theatre and cinemas, and so many people not being able to work. It sounds unreal.
It is an unsettling time to live in. Calm and clarity are much needed not to sink down the panic hole. I send warm hugs and good, light energy to all reading from the risk zones around the world, and I hope we’ll all be able to shake hands and hug each other again soon without a bit of worry.
I wish I could do more… And I am sure I am not the only one.
I wish you all a wonderful week from the shiny forest. After the rain, sun came back here at Sitka and made every tree like a fresh bright jewel.
May this sparkling light be a soothing view for those who live these days in worry. May the Nature around reassure us that this too, as all things go, will pass… and may she sustain our spirits high till then.