My husband and I are musicians. And we’re parents. When we are onstage, we do our best to really be ON stage. But all our “backstage” experiences with our son (our little frog) deeply affect who we are as people, thus musicians. Recent insights:
Working on my Trad Kids musical in the charming hamlet of Madison, Wisconsin (with my mom providing the finest care for my son during the days!), I wonder WHY I continue to live in Boston… so very far from family.
While Madison has never been a home for me, it is where my mother, sister, and cousins have settled in recent years. Aside from the state’s dodgy political climate, many of the town’s residents seem progressive, engaged, quietly sophisticated (lots of tattoos and transgendered people, but nary an air of pretension). In Madison I could surely build up a modest flute studio, play a few background music gigs, and set up select performances in the region (including a few kid shows). In Madison I would be able to connect with kind and talented Irish musicians like Alan Ng and Elizabeth Fine…
…But the old argument rises again (as surely as Jack and Kyle’s “Fenix”): my performing style and composing output continues to be greatly affected by input. I am inspired by the music I hear in Boston, and the local “trad” music community I am lucky enough to know. Many of my Irish music peers are also raising kids, taking them to music parties and concerts, and eventually music lessons. And while I don’t get to see/play with friends as often as I’d like, it is a comfort and a motivation to know that there are musicians just up the street who could play circles around me… and that every week many of them are leading fantastic sessions that I could attend.
Boston nourishes me in other ways, too. I am ever inspired by the world-class Irish traditional music (and classical music, great singer songwriters, etc.). Additionally, the diverse, international population with accompanying restaurants and cultural events expands my imagination. I am grateful for the deep pool of passionate intellectuals (politically savvy, often liberal) that my university-rich city attracts. I cherish Boston’s public transport system, and the ease of travel out of Boston (with countless “markets” short drives away and with countless international daily flights). I rely on the fine neighborhood libraries, parks, and playgrounds. And if I am not sated with Beantown’s harbor, there are the scores of breathtaking oceanic, forest, and mountain attractions throughout compact little New England.
No flies on lovely Madison. But for now, I’ll have to fly to Madison whenever I can: