Whether focused on Colla Voce, or music, or art, or simply day to day life, I look through the lens of
Experience + Adventure + Education + Dialogue = Transformation.
I filter every decision I make for Colla Voce through this lens—from choosing music, to planning an exchange for the singers, to scheduling a visit for the children’s chorus at a retirement home, to creating the program that the audience participant holds in their hands.
Last February, I traveled to Ireland to attend the wedding of my colleague and friend, Catherine. I spent two weeks with her and her family, milking cows, listening to traditional Irish music in pubs, visiting the boy’s school where she teaches and seeing the “terrible beauty” of Ireland.
Her boys planned a personal concert for me. They played and sang original songs and traditional Irish songs, and their bagpipes and guitars came alive. Her principal patiently spent two hours coaching me on the Irish dialect of Donegal and telling stories of Ireland’s history and its effect on the people.
I stood in Belfast looking at the wall dividing the Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods, viewed the memorial murals and faced the terrible tragedy of a people divided by ideals and the willingness to kill to protect those ideals.
The concert that was designed upon my return reflected the breadth of those experiences—the pleasure of a dance, the longing for love, the tragedy of war, and the joy of a simple tune well sung. My hope was that the audience too, would experience a bit of the Isles through the music, story and dance in the concert.
I’m fairly certain that the most engaging experiences are those that tell a story and bring the listener along on the journey—whether it be in the context of an evening in a pub, or in the early morning hours at a dairy milking cows, or in a concert setting sitting inside an historic building.
May you have
Walls for the wind
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks bedside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire.
~ a Celtic blessing