Find your Ground. Share your Ground.
Having Difficult conversations about race and racism.
It was one of those moments when the performers and audiences felt vulnerable because something truthful and raw was being shared.
Our ensemble felt really good about our work. The local newspaper wrote a GREAT ARTICLE ABOUT IT.
But I had to go through some soul searching and risk my closest relationship for us to get to that point. The day before our intensive rehearsal weekend, I shared with my fiance Michael that I was feeling constrained by the role of the violin in INSPIRA. Because this instrument is such a fundamental part of who he is, it felt scary to say this.
However, over the next two days, Michael and I had grounded and heart-opening conversations about INSPIRA, Ferguson, and our partnership This conversation uncovered that it wasn't the violin per se but our approach to spirituals that felt wrong. It was too historical and literal.
I really felt that INSPIRA had to address Ferguson and the current onslaught against Black life. This did not mean that I needed all the musicians to be Black or that the violin did not fit. Rather, I needed the ensemble to embrace spirituals as music for today's struggle. I also got clear that we needed to use the spirituals as starting points not as limits on our poetic or musical improvisations.
Through talking with Michael I found new ground. I shared it with the whole INSPIRA ensemble, all of whom relished this direction. During our rehearsals and performance I loved the sometimes lyrical, sometimes raw, edgy violin that Michael brought to INSPIRA. He loved the challenge of improvising and finding expression in musical arrangements with drums and a tenor sax.
Sometimes I know one layer of truth but can't get deeper or to something more whole unless I share what troubles me.
A lot of us are afraid to share our truths because we don't want to lose a relationship or intimacy, but this risk ultimately allows us to create something new.
Find your ground. Share your ground.
If you like what you're hearing, please help us cover our INSPIRA EXPENSES. We have just over 24 hours to make our goal! Photos are of Inspira Ensemble members Michael Jamanis, Francis Wong, Gerri Mccritty and below Matthew Armstead.