Vanity Fair: Which talent would you most like to have?
Cusak: Music. It seems to be the closest art to prayer and where the shamans roam.
— From the ‘Proust Questionnaire’ with John Cusak, Vanity Fair, 2008
I was born and raised in North Texas, in a town where my mom had been a high school homecoming queen, my dad came to help his college football team win a national title, my grandfather sold everyone’s insurance and everyone somehow magically knew my whereabouts at all times (and made sure my parents did too).
I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 and never stopped. I learned to play on a big, bulky piano-shaped object whose tune had permanently fallen a whole step and half lower than all other musical instruments. It was perfect. On that creaky bench, I added “pianist” to my list of self-descriptors and it became the most prominent of my identities.
When it was time to venture to college, I went to Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, paid for by both academic and music scholarships. I was at a solid liberal arts institution, so in addition to my music classes, I learned about Religion and Philosophy, Art History and Astronomy, the effects of drugs on your brain and the inner-workings of German fairy tales. Until I went to Rhodes, I was “a Pianist”; by the time I graduated, I was “a Pianist, AND…”.
I had trained since I was 5 years old to be a Pianist; then, thanks to my introduction to everything else at Rhodes, I fell in love with countless other topics and developed passions I never knew possible. All of a sudden, I felt like I could perhaps be more.
I will forever be working to marry my many interests, strengths, and passions. I see now that I was never just “Pianist”.
Today, you’ll find me: teaching piano in my new Studio downtown Salida; working with moms and babies to help make breastfeeding more accessible, more attainable, and more successful; celebrating the gift of song with other women; jabbering away with other moms about life with our families in Home Sweet Salida; and scheming of other ways to be creative in this community.
What unites these things? Community. Connection. Creation. Empowerment. Education. Expression.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, you are my future. I see you! I am here! And I so very much look forward to working with you.