This week begins my 7th summer as percussion artist faculty at the Sewanee summer music festival. When I started, we had a small studio with limited instruments and even more limited abilities. I was clueless as to how a festival program should run, and totally insecure about my ability to do the job. On top of that, one of my biggest supporters and the primary reason the previous director hired me, Bruce Dinkins, passed away the day before the festival started. I was overwhelmed with grief and pretty lost all together. 2011 was a hard summer.
Fast forward a few years, we have a new director, awesome equipment provided every year by Yamaha, and outstanding students from across the world coming to study orchestral and chamber percussion.
I am enormously blessed, but also realizing that beyond luck or blessing or whatever else you believe in, you have to have a vision. You have to have a long term plan for your career, and the willingness to invest time, energy effort and money into that vision.
I could have walked away from this festival after that first summer..... But I knew that having a summer festival home would be enormously valuable to my professional development, and that if done correctly, would hold a special place in my life for many years.
So, I made it work, and I developed recruiting networks, and I worked my butt off, and now...well now we have a pretty sweet festival experience for advanced high school and college percussionists.
On the top of a mountain. In Tennessee.
See you this summer