A sincere thank you to all of you that have been following along with my weekly blog posts outlining my progress in planning my benefit concert, ...in loving memory. Now that the performance is over and the funds have been collected, I decided it would be important to provided one final, conclusive post about the concert. Read below to watch a short video summary of the event, explore my detailed "timeline" for planning the event, read my final reflections on the event, and, on an unrelated note, discover where I'll be attending graduate school next year!!
A Brief Summary
My benefit concert for the Alzheimer's Association, ...in loving memory, actually became the cumulative project of my UA Honors Thesis titled, The Art of Performance.
(I was actually selected as one of ten finalists for the elevator pitch competition, by the way, and you can come see me present about my research at the Honors Engagement Expo on May 3. Join my mailing list to stay tuned for more information about this presentation!)
A look "behind the scenes"
The benefit concert itself was the culmination of years of sporadic ideas for the event and eight focused week of exhausting logistical planning! Many of you attended the event in-person and have been following along with my weekly blog posts; however, the table below shows the extensive "laundry list" of items that had to be accomplished in order to ensure the event's success! There were many smaller issues that arose that needed to be addressed throughout the planning process, but I've included the major accomplished tasks below.
Music was, and always will be, a source of healing for me. As a passionate and collaborative art form, music can thrive when words fail. It is the tool with which musicians can heal, empower, and communicate with others. For the benefit concert, I worked hard to find repertoire that would wrestle with the realities of grief while still highlighting the beauty of life and its fragility.
However, this being my first effort to host such a large-scale charitable event, I learned many valuable lessons about the difficult "behind-the-scenes" work that goes into planning an event of this magnitude. In the future, I would not try to tackle an event like this by myself. I was fortunate to have the assistance of many mentors, teachers, friends, and family throughout the process of planning ...in loving memory, but I was the one sending all the emails, making the phone calls, organizing the logistics, etc. If I were to perform on an event like this again, I would allow myself to focus solely on them musical aspects of the events while recruiting a whole team to address the logistical hurdles of the event.
My initial plans for the event were amended constantly as new challenges arose throughout the process. For example, I had planned to premiere an original composition at the performance but, a few weeks before the event, decided to abandon efforts on the piece and save it for a future event. Similarly, I actually removed an entire marimba solo from my program after the concert's dress rehearsal as it was not up to the standard of the other pieces. These difficult decisions were simply the byproduct of a tight time schedule. For every hour spent in the practice room, I spent an additional hour to two hours on the phone and on my computer sending emails. I knew that the publicity and marketing of the event would be as important as the actual music on the concert.
Planning rehearsals while juggling the personal schedules of 11 musicians from four different cities resulted in limited ensemble practice time. Three of the eight musicians on the Akiho piece, for example, had to back out of the performance resulting in my search to find substitute musicians. And, do to the logistical challenge of finding agreeable rehearsal times for all eight musicians, we only had one full rehearsal as an octet before the performance (this particular piece is typically rehearsed for a couple months before the performance).
However, the difference with this event was that it was not an ordinary recital: there was a deeply passionate purpose behind the programming of each piece on the concert. Every aspect of this event was meaningful and important and all the musicians on the event were fully invested in supporting the charitable cause. Despite the limited rehearsal time and numerous logistical challenges, the event itself was an absolutely beautiful and rewarding experience.
It is my hope that these previous blog posts can help future musicians, artists, and philanthropists recognize their own ability to host charitable events to raise community awareness for causes about which they are personally passionate. This eight-week adventure has confirmed my decision to continue to use my music to memorialize the memories of those family members and mentors that helped pave the path for me.
In other news...
After a very difficult decision, I am happy to announce that I will be attending the University of Georgia via a full graduate assistantship to pursue a Master of Music in Percussion Performance!
I will be continuing my studies with Timothy Adams, Jr., former timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and Kimberly Toscano-Adams, former timpanist of the Tucson Symphony. I realized that I have a lot more to learn at UGA and I am very fortunate that my graduate studies will be fully-funded.
I was also recently named the Outstanding Senior of the Fred Fox School of Music at The University of Arizona. After an interview with the "outstanding seniors" from each of the five schools within the UA College of Fine Arts, I was also named the top Outstanding Senior for the entire College of Fine Arts. I will have the opportunity to present a speech to my graduating class at the UA College of Fine Arts commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12 at 2:00PM in Centennial Hall at The University of Arizona.
Join my mailing list and check out my events page for more information about this in the coming weeks!