I've been asked the question "Why haven't you been discovered yet?" quite a number of times by well meaning people who seem to be disappointed for me that I have not 'made it'.....
I completely understand where this comes from, it seems a lot of people think all musicans are looking to become chart topping pop tarts and while I have nothing against chart topping pop tarts, I think am just too old and attached to my sweatpants to even fancy myself in the running. At the end of the day I am a Mom first and I like to be at home, the most. I was a stay at home Mom for 6 years and it suited me beautifully, were it not for a change in my life circumstances I'm sure my guitar would still be standing in my living room collecting dust.
But life happens and this is where I am, and if you really want to know the truth I feel like I have 'made it'. Yes I often live hand to mouth, um, welcome to the club. I still feel fortunate, not in the pocket book but in the soul. How lucky I feel to be able to say that I love my job. My day at work begins when most everyone else's is ending so usually I am around people who are celebrating and in a great mood. This is pretty key......I mean just imagine you are the head of the complaints dept at Wal Mart or something.....who would you have to deal with all day??? On the other hand, my customers? They are all singing along, dancing, laughing, connecting with each other and for a brief moment in time, together as a crowd we know what magic feels like. It's is the ultimate campfire.
I also hang with the members in the L.O.R. who are adult non-pro musicians, many of whom are still learning their way around a stage......I know what it feels like when everything is a first, I remember it well, and I like to share those moments with people and experience the excitment with them. I am realizing that in some way, some how, I am even helping people find their confidence while playing music which is weird and relevant only because it has taken me so long to find my own. In a way, seeing myself reflected in them or anywhere for that matter, propells me forward as I recognize how to get past own roadblocks. You can't buy this kind of experience.
I am also able to use music to connect with children. This is especially interesting to me because we sometimes manage to grab the kids who are not as engaged by traditional teaching methods as the rest. Kids who are easily distracted, bored and for whatever reason are just not connecting with the curriculum. Kids who are like I was.
I received an incredible letter recently from a Mother of one of the students who was in one of the concerts I recently worked on. She wrote to tell me that her family had just suffered a serious tragedy and her boy had been morose and unreachable. She thinks her son's participation in the Voices of Nature concert changed his life, or at least brought the spring back to his step. She shared with me that it seemed to her that her son got a real spark from the music and that he had spent a lot of time at home singing and practicing the choreography for the concert.........she reported that it was the first time since the tragedy that she saw a light in his eyes. Her thanks were so heartfelt.....my eyes are tearing up as I type this....... to read that Mother's words...........especially being a Mother myself.......... That was just one of countless stories or mini moments that brought me to tears, the good kind. It makes it worthwhile, slugging all the gear around and doing all the work part of my job, which we won't talk about. Why spoil a nice blog post. ;)
I feel so much happiness when I work with these kids that I can't imagine disconnecting from what I perceive as 'real life' to enter a world of plasti-glam where I really don't belong or long to be, and I know a lot of musicians who feel the same way, we are just happy to be working and making music that is meaningful to people. And glad to go home at the end of the day able to live a normal unfettered life.
So when someone asks me why I am not successful in music..... I think about how genuine my smile is in the above video and I look at the unbelievable musicians I get to go onstage and into the studio with.......and I tell them that I am truly lucky and extremely grateful to be able to do the things I get to do. And to do all this and still be available and at home for my kids..........really......how much more successful can a woman possibly ask to be? :)
Ok, well actually I could definitely do with a raise in pay, but then again couldn't we all?
Video of the performance of Blue Sky.
Written by Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright in conjunction with "Project Blue Sky", where you can learn about reducing your "Carbon Footprint" Filmed at the Norman Rothstien Theatre in Vancouver BC. The song Blue Sky is on Holly's latest CD release.....the fabulous musicians who are on the album and who participate in the Voices of Nature concerts as part of the Dream Band are:
Holly Arntzen - Vocals/Dulcimer/Keyboards
Kevin Wright - Vocals/Percussion
David Sinclair - Guitars
Bill Sample - Keyboards
Karel Roessingh - Keyboards
Michael Creber - Keyboards
Brian Newcombe - Bass
Steve Moyer - Bass
Shawn Soucy - Drums/Percussion
Rachael Chatoor - BG vocals
Bill Henderson - BG vocals
If you would like to see your children's school participating in the Voices of Nature concerts please contact Holly Arntzen to find out how to have your school included in next years series!
See you onstage somewhere....