Finding Music — A Reflection on #thisrocks from Writer Rebekah Scallet
The following blog post is from In Transit writer Rebekah Scallet. I asked Rebekah to write me a blog post relating to In Transit: #thisrocks, and she sent me this wonderful gem about how she found her inspiration to write this story. A lot of what Rebekah writes about below really explains part of why most of us love music, or any of the arts, so much. I found Rebekah’s words to cause me to reflect on my introduction to music and the impact it has had on my life. Hopefully they will have the same effect on you. Enjoy!
#thisrocks is my fifth multi-media inter-disciplinary concert with Fifth House Ensemble, and with this show, as with some of the others, I found myself wondering, “really, am I the best person to work on this idea?” Fifth House approached me with a concept–they wanted to create a show around the story of a young person discovering music, and how music might impact her life. Many of the ensemble members have worked with the Merit School of Music or other outreach programs, so this story was very personal and near to them. I thought this was a great idea, but I had no clue how to go about turning their general idea into something specific. “They must keep forgetting I’m a theatre person,” I figured, “What do I know about discovering music? What do I know about playing music at all?”
Adam Marks and Eric Snoza did their best to help me out. With assistance from Merit, they were able to get in contact with some alumni, as well as other people in the Fifth House family. We asked questions like, “when did you first know you wanted music to be a part of your life,” and “what is one of your most vivid memories of playing?” I got some great ideas and stories from their answers, many of which you will see amalgamated in the main character Tanya’s journey in #thisrocks.
As I was going over these interviews, though, I had a realization about myself. I too had a story about discovering music. I began playing in the school orchestra in the fourth grade, and the music teacher Mr. Pleasant (yes, that was his real name) placed a cello in my hands, even though I thought I wanted to play the violin, a story I have co-opted and put in the show as part of Tanya’s past. Though I later gave up the cello in high school as my theatre passion overtook music, the teachers I had and the experiences I went through are still with me. I think they were locked away in some part of my brain, and reading other people’s stories brought them back to me in vivid detail: playing in my first Christmas concert at school, how excited I was to buy a cello at a garage sale, how proud I was to be a part of the All-State Orchestra, my nervousness at going to my first private lesson with the first chair of the Arkansas Symphony, how supportive and encouraging all of my teachers were, and what camaraderie I found in my fellow musicians.
I realized these early experiences had a tremendous impact on my life and the person I became, even though I didn’t stick with the cello. This reinforces what Fifth House was telling me all along and the kernel of the idea that inspired #thisrocks–whether one becomes a professional musician, a teacher, a doctor, or a (gasp) theatre director, connecting with music can change one’s life. And thanks to this show, I now realize how much it changed mine. Thank you Mr. Pleasant!
Photo found here.