Old Friends And New

I just launched a Kickstarter! You can click on over to see a financial breakdown of the project and check out the rad rewards for different donation levels, and as part of the official launch, today I want to go into a little more detail about this project and what it means to me, in ways that don’t really fit into the project description space.

My first few months in LA were lonely. I moved out here to take the job I currently have as a music archivist, but none of my friends were moving with me, and since I work in a room by myself with a bunch of old sheet music, I don’t exactly have a cohort of coworkers to bond with. I tried out for a spot in a youth orchestra towards the end of that first summer, but I didn’t win the audition, so playing bassoon — which in college was a great way to branch out and meet new people — became, like composing, something I would have to do by myself, in the solitude of my apartment. There were weeks where the only times I used my voice were singing along with the car stereo on my ten-minute commute and saying “hi” and “thanks” to cashiers in grocery stores.

The new music scene out here changed that. It started when I trekked a few blocks south to check out a concert series a friend of mine pointed me to, something called Tuesdays@Monk Space. I don’t remember specifically what was on the program that evening in October, but I do remember how excited everyone there seemed to be to be seeing a new face in the crowd. New music groups can sometimes be cliquey and closed to outsiders, but here I was welcomed with such warmth and generosity, and it wasn’t long before I had joined their team, helping run the box office, then editing the program notes, and now also designing the programs myself. It was one of my Monk Space friends that got me involved with Piano Spheres, which led to helping staff the Hear Now Festival, all while another track was leading me to doing review work for New Classic LA — it happened gradually, but I looked up one day to find myself embedded in a real community, not just recognizing faces in darkened concert halls, but smiling at friends and eagerly catching up with their doings at intermission.

I’m going to miss that tremendously. I’m sure I’ll put down new roots in New York City, but that doesn’t mean I won’t feel sad bidding farewell to these. I was an outsider here, and the LA new music scene welcomed me without question and turned this strange place into one I could call home.

And so I want to say a real goodbye. Despite all the words I regularly pour into cyberspace, music is what I do, and it’s the truest, most earnest expression of emotion I know how to make. So I want to do that. I want to make a bunch of music for the people I have the profound good fortune to call my friends. Some of what I’ll be playing comes from as far afield as England and Germany, but some of it hails from right here in LA, and that seems like a fitting way to commemorate how I was accepted into this fold.

But I can’t do it alone. I want this to be a good concert, and that means paying a professional pianist and audio engineer, booking a quality concert venue, hiring a graphic designer, and lots of other incidental expenses. If you support that, if you support fledgeling musicians making art in their communities in a way that supports other artists and helps the musical ecosystem flourish, please consider sending a few dollars my way. Any amount really does help and truly is appreciated — I know it can feel silly donating $5 towards a large-scale project, but if even half the people reading this chipped in that much, we’d be fully funded and then some. Many small things really can add up to one big thing — that’s the lesson of daily practice, after all! And if you have the budget for a little more, there are some nifty perks on offer, from an exclusive recording I’m never posting anywhere else to a private lesson with yours truly. If you don’t have the means to donate yourself, please consider sharing the project on whatever social media platform you like best — crowdfunding works best when it’s, you know, on the radar of an actual crowd.

As always, from the bottom of my heart: Thanks <3