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Reports | Spring 2017
(photo by Kayte Deioma)

First-Timer Reflections on Los Gatos, 2016

I had been encouraged to join CMN many years ago by my friend and Local 1000 American Federation of Musicians (AFM), colleague Deborah Van Kleef. So I finally did, while living in Colorado, but did little with the membership besides receive the e-mail digest.

Just as I was about to unsubscribe from the listserv, I received an e-mail query from Pam Donkin, who was seeking a children’s music teacher in San Mateo, California—the very town to which I was moving!

(photos by Kayte Deioma)

Thus began my delightful adventure as a teacher in Peninsula Music Together.

The CMN conference was so close to home, and despite its conflicting dates with another music conference that I have been going to for years, I was encouraged by Pam Donkin to attend this one. I arranged for substitute teaching for my classes so I could take advantage of the entire experience.

From the beginning welcome to the closing songs, hard rain was our constant companion, and a little “hardship” has a way of making strangers laugh and share some camaraderie in the common experience.

Open faces, smiles, helpfulness, inquiries, support, and delight were what greeted me in every part of the conference. The Newbies welcome meeting, the Shabbat gathering, talking with interesting people during dinners, and the wide array of musical exploration by colleagues filled me with hope and energy. Being welcomed to play hammered dulcimer in the contra-dance band and being encouraged to share a song in the Round-Robin went a long way toward helping me find my footing in a new crowd. These are my natural ways of relating, and seeing so many other kindred folk who rank very high on the SQ (Silly Quotient) meter felt like I was coming home. Melanie DeMore’s keynote on Saturday, a mentoring session, the workshops that I attended and one I led (Crowdfunding) were all highlights. My only regret was that I was unable to work a physical tough massage into the schedule! My heart, however, was well massaged by the joy and gratitude, commitment and energy of the gathering.

I am so grateful to finally have been able to attend and receive resources and connections that support my daily life, and work to help people sing their soul.