I've heard many stories lately from Violinist.com readers who have donated their time to play for people in need -- for the sick, elderly, homeless, those in jail or for at-risk school children.
Just this week, University of Texas Violin Professor Brian Lewis described outreach concerts he did as a student with Juilliard's Gluck Community Service Fellowship; and Violinist.com member Alexander Strachen described playing for Alzheimers patients, after previously describing performing for Hospice patients. Earlier this year, Chattanooga Symphony Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy blogged about performing a concert for prison inmates. Longtime member and LA Phil violinist Vijay Gupta has been recognized for his arduous work as founder and director of Street Symphony, a program that brings live music to the mentally ill, poor, homeless and incarcerated in Los Angeles.
Every performer who described such concerts also shared something in common: they found these experiences to be deeply meaningful.
It's not always easy to carve out time for the basics, much less outreach performances. But playing for those in need often can be more rewarding than playing a high-profile gig, and it can help put many other things in perspective. Sometimes, it's as simple as finding something close-to-home, like playing at a relative's care facility, or at a food bank through your own church. I'd like us to share stories about doing such performances, just to get everyone thinking about this kind of work. Is it something you have done in the past? Something you do regularly? Is there something you could plan to do in the coming year? Please participate in the vote below, and then share your thoughts.
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