Artist's Way Blog
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on July 30, 2011 at 10:35 AM|
I was giddy.
Like you're 6 years old, jumping up and down and waiting for the doorbell to ring with one of your birthday party best friends kind-of-giddy.
It was "Salon night" aka "Use Your Outside Voice" night. A night for a diverse group of folks to come together and perform for each other. "Perform" in the loosest, most casual sense of the word - think one step up from what it was like as a kid to jump up in front of your parents and put on a show/routine/skit.
This idea had been germinating for easily 6 years.
I'd been volunteering at The Empty Space and read an article where the Artistic Director Allison Narver spoke of the death of her mom Betty Jane Narver and how she would gather people from all walks of life and would have these amazing evenings of conversation noting her home was a "community center in the true sense of that word."
The idea of a place where community gathered was never far from my mind. I thought "wow, I'd love to do something like that only have it involve music and performance."
Hence the Salon was born (if only in my head!).
So how can I paint this picture (since I refused to miss one minute of really being there by taking an actual picture)?
First, here's the space:
Present Sense sang to me the first time I saw it - I imagined some wild west frontier store (and apparently it was at one time a store) - so simple, so sweet and nestled into the middle of the Wallingford neighborhood. We've been teaching our Artist's Way classes there for awhile now and the space radiates warmth.
6 people signed up to do a variety of singing, group sing-a-long, solo performance, poetry, and reading an original play. No rehearsal (at least not together).
We started with the whole group (guests and performers alike) practicing the failure bow (hands over head stretched to the ceiling, smiling broadly and shouting "I failed" and then clapping for ourselves). We noted how important failure is to the creative process and we were going to honor our successes and most importantly our failures tonight. Katie talked about her vision for Present Sense - a place where community can gather.
As simple as that.
And gather we did.
Starting off the night with everyone singing "this little light of mine I'm going to let it shine" over and over until you could hear the collective undertone "oh yes, I AM! I am SO going to let it shine."
Shining happened ...
I could go on and on about the radiance of the voices that reminded me of the sweetest birds tweeting, or the knowing laughter as the performers shared their written word, or the courage it takes to get up it front of people and say "this is who I am and what I have to offer."
So many gifts - many of which I was hoping would happen.
But it was the things I couldn't have expected that touched me most.
The man from the neighborhood who saw we were having the Salon came in off the street and asked if he could perform (and did! a lovely poem)
A guest of one of the performers who asked spontaneously at the end of the evening if she could sing noting at the beginning "I'm surprised I'm doing this - you can ask my husband - I never sing in public" but DID and was fantastic.
Or perhaps the greatest compliment from a friend who said "this so inspired. I want to go home right now and write."
At the end of the night the attendees were super excited by what they'd just been a part of and kept saying "thanks so much for doing this."
Here's the thing.
I SO can't take the credit for it. And mind you. I'd love to take credit for it.
What I think? I think it was simply divine-inspired.
Call it what you will, God, Higher Power, Universe, Creative Force.
I heard a voice saying "get people together and sing". And all I did was listen and take direction. When I do that, glorious things happen.
So what I say?
Bruce is giddy too
P.S. The other added bonus of the night came from the suggestion that Katie Talbott had was to have a hat out and any donations made go to the charity of my choice. I choose this amazing couple who run an orphanage in Mozambique and because of the generosity of the attendees, they will be receiving $181.
Thank you ALL!
We hope to do these quarterly so hope to see you there in the future.