The musician-led initiative that totally captivated my imagination this spring was pianist Miki Sawada's Gather Hear tour of Louisiana. This was her fifth such tour, carting an upright piano in a moving van, but the daringly unique twist this time was that she did not pre-plan any performance venues. Rather, she allowed the tour to unfold based on conversations with ordinary (and fascinating) people that she met along the way.
I remember being inspired by cellist Matt Haimovitz's Listening Room tour in 2002, and dreaming up a potential road trip challenge, crossing the country from living room to living room with a solo Bach program and eventually making it all the way to San Francisco from Boston. I figured that the even greater adventure would have been to rely on house concert guests to introduce me to the next host in the next location.
I never followed through on that idea, and I'm so inspired by Miki's bravery and tenacity, not to mention her artistry. And her storytelling and promotional skills, too!
See her photos and videos here. I wish there was a way to better share the email updates that she provided across the timeline of the tour. Here's one excerpt:
We continued along the southern Louisiana coast through the land of swamps and bayous (with an alligator sighting right next to a strip mall), to the Chitimacha Reservation. The Chitimacha are one of four federally recognized tribes in Louisiana. I walked up to all of the tribal buildings, hoping to maybe play at their school, but all were deserted. I even wandered into the maze of their tribe-operated casino to ask for intel, and was told that the day after Easter is a holiday and everyone is hanging out at home. No luck.
Sharing student project documentation and, more recently, my own.