There are a lot of dreams and visions that came with writing this blog. The greatest dream born, was the one that came with the desire to build a stronger music community. Behind the scenes, this operation comes together in the sanctity of my bedroom and for me, that is perfect because it comes from the intimacy of my wounded soul! Writing is a personal exercise that warrants a lot of alone time. Something I thrive in.
Music is so important to our survival because life is full of hardships and trauma. Personally, I use music to escape the pains of my existence. I close my eyes and feel the rhythms that connect me to the universe and my Father in heaven. I know I am not alone in this, which is why I am motivated to bring people together for music. Getting lost in music’s vibrations replenishes the mind and reminds us that life is much greater than the negative impositions we face from day to day and more about sharing the positive results that come from those impositions.
Having started this blog after the end of a marriage, I became entrenched in this thought of a community, with the hopes of feeling more connected to one. Part of this happened because I came out of a situation of alienation from the world. From that situation, I was left with a wanting. A wanting to belong to something instead of someone. I wanted to use all of my talents and past experiences to bring music to light in my area. And I didn’t want anyone to stop me. Instead of getting lost in another lonely relationship, I ended up here, cultivating a more connected music community.
Our experiences in this life are what guide us. Having been through a lot of trauma I naturally became an advocate. I have been an advocate for the hurt and suffering victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. My best work in life, however, comes in being an advocate for musicians on the local level. I have known this to be my calling since I was 17 and I started pursuing it passionately when I was 25 years old. Music is essential to our existence and I am on a mission to keep people connected to it!
Writing this blog came with a great many learning curves and plenty of frustration too. However, from those educationally trying times, came my dreams of developing something better for others to use.
If all goes well, freelancers like myself will have a user-friendly program to create and share content, while music appreciators will be able to download an app on their phone that connects them to the scene in their state. Should those efforts be successful, we will help put freelancers like me to work, while keeping people connected to the things they love. This will also keep the local music scene lively and thriving. Once that mission is complete and cash flow is no longer an issue, I would love to build a foundation funded by that success.
Having just completed a year of sitting on the board for the Down East Folk Arts Society, I know about non-profits and how they work. As for DEFAS, they do good work and warrant the grants they seek for bringing and promoting the shows they bring to our area. They have a mission similar to mine, which made it a good fit. Over the years, I have also been involved with quite a few Blues societies in several states. There again, good work, for local and regional blues artists.
I am also fully aware and understand that my work as a writer, serves also as a non-profit service to this community that I support. However, that was never my intention. No lie, my sights are still set on being very profitable and changing the world. I am a hard worker, who will be looking to someday attain the fruits of my labor. I am not interested in setting myself up as a charity to get started.
It is frustrating to me that life has come down to a GoFundMe, thanks in part to living my dreams! Nonetheless, I believe in my plans enough to still foresee having so much profit that there needs to be a foundation in place for the run-off. Something I can invest in regularly while encouraging growth for years to come through music development. Did I mention, DREAM BIG!
This non-profit foundation will focus its efforts on some very personal goals. First and foremost, it’s my want and my wish to bring an orchestra program to the North Carolina public schools. I would start with Craven County while keeping all of NC in the scope.
My reason for this is personal. I was in the process of rearing my son in Louisiana during the middle school years when he signed up to be a part of the school orchestra. He loved learning the violin. When we moved back to the area, there was no orchestra here. The band director handed my son a triangle and stuck him in the back next to the big drum. For obvious reasons, I did not become a band mom. And I never let go of wanting to change the system, even if it is by bringing music choices to our children.
About a year into writing the blog, another major motivation inspired more nonprofit dreams and missions. That is when Big Jim took ill and could not make it out to the store to buy some booze. When shock set in from alcohol withdrawal Big Jim found himself a ride to better health and a life of sobriety and the blues.
Fact is, Big Jim was sick from pneumonia, which had him incapacitated. But interestingly enough, it was alcohol which held him down the most. When he couldn’t get his hands on any, it literally took him down. To survive the withdrawals he was placed in a coma and put in ICU. This man is one of my best friends. I was scared we would lose him in this battle and it stirred a movement in me like no other. He is the inspiration behind the Foundation, funding the recovery expenses for local musicians.
For those that were not here back then, I had a call to action when Big Jim grew ill. I made a lot of promises that meant something, as I was saying them to my sick friend before God’s ears. And even though Jim is slim now, and sober for nearly two years, I still want to start a foundation to raise the money needed for musicians to get treatment, should they make the healthy choice of clean and sober living.
That is a much needed and worthy goal as this business creates a lot of dependencies that other job opportunities don’t. As there is no other job that I can think of where you walk in, set up and have drinks handed to you as you work. There is no shortage of people wanting to get the band high either. It makes me a little heartsick. All of this leads to awesome troubles for many entertainers. Given that, I feel it is important to have a safety net for this industry.
The next big upset that inspired me more was Hurricane Florence. Since her visit last September, my mind and life have been completely altered. That is true for most in my area. Though I can’t move a mountain or tear down a building I can dream…and today I still say we need to tear down Trent Court, in its entirety and build a parking garage where the Days Inn used to stand. Build an amphitheater in town, something that can withstand the weather. Then use a percentage of those profits to build better housing in a safer location. We can help the poor and heal the hurt by bringing an awesome music venue to this city. And yes I do know there is a plan to build an amphitheater on the outskirt of this town, but, it seems to make more sense to put it in town. Who do I talk to about this dream? Who can help me propose it?
One of the ideas that came from my work as a videographer, was this idea that we can bring music to the people. I get a lot of messages. Some messages came from recovering alcoholics who would share their tales with me. In short, they enjoy my work because they miss the music. Pair that with my sober friends making music on the scene, and there came this idea of bringing music out of the bars into our neighborhoods.
This is the kind of work that I am most excited about. We have so many small communities in my area that would thrive with a mini-concert series. But this is work that needs community partnerships interested in doing business with me as an advertising vessel. I serve as a legitimate advertising write-off for any company interested in putting their banners up behind my stages.
These types of community activities promote friends and neighbors coming together in a healthy environment for the sake of afternoon fun and music. I was hopeful that partners in the community would see this good work and support it, but thus far I am still the only advertising banner being featured at these shows.
Sponsors would serve as banner advertisers and would be promoted as such. Their banners would drape the stage setting and be featured in all live feeds on social media. The cost to sponsor a show is $500. This allows me to offer fair pay to the band and promote the shows within the communities. I still have several shows remaining and would love to alleviate the request for donations from a community harshly impacted by the Hurricane.
For our next show in Fairfield Harbour, we will delight in the Americana folk and gospel-infused music of Caffeinated Soul Boogie. A New Bern based father/daughter band backed up by a couple of rhythm makers on bass and guitar. We gather in Red Sail Park for these shows and the residents are all invited to pack a snack and bring a drink. I hustle people for a $10 donation to pay the bands, but I would rather partner with community businesses to make this dream the best it can be. On Sunday, July 28th, the inspiration of the movement, Big Jim Kohler returns for his second performance. The series concludes in September, so there is still an opportunity to be a part of greatness.
If you would like to partner with me in bringing these shows to your community, please do not hesitate to contact me. Same is true for any business looking for a unique advertising vessel. I am happy to incorporate partnerships with my social media sites and this blog page as part of the package. Those advertising dollars, in turn, help to build healthy, fair paying stages in neighborhoods looking to incorporate live and local music.
This helps to expand the local music market and brings more people together in an area they know and love with the people they live near. Nothing is more beautiful than that vision.
So for those that have been wondering what is up with the blogger, now you know. I am taking a break, but clearly, no one has seen the last of this girl!
I write a weekly column for NewBernNow.com for all of the fun happening in and around town. It publishes each Thursday and you can check it out by clicking the NBN link.
Have a great week and take time to enjoy the dance!