Oh, that’s close to Philly, right?
In Nebraska, if you pick the right direction, you can drive for hours and still be in the same place. It’s opener there, in the wide open air. So when my wife scored a sweet gig at Millersville University in Millersville, PA, I was very excited to be a mere hour or two out of Philadelphia, and hour of so from Baltimore, and three hours from New York or D.C. That’s not to mention having a bit more financial freedom to pursue the composition side of my career more than the teaching side.
So when does a perception become a real thing?
When we first got here, I quickly noticed how people in the Lancaster area didn’t really perceive Philly as all that close. I chuckled to myself. “Imagine what they’d think of the Midwest,” I mused to myself. After getting settled in a bit, I went to a Network for New Music concert in West Philadelphia. It was an amazingly well-performed concert that I thoroughly enjoyed. One thing I found odd, however, was how “outreachy” it was. One performer actually took time to explain what an English horn was. Now, this isn’t even west of Philadelphia, it is in the western part of Philadelphia. Whoa. Not a small world at all, it seems. A week later, I found out I’m not even in the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Composers Forum. I’m actually in the same jurisdiction as I was in Nebraska– at large. (To be fair, I should point out that I was assured any project that would take place in the jurisdiction, across my county line, would be eligible for affiliate programs). Turns out I’m not a Philadelphia area composer after all. So I decided to find a bit of work in Philadelphia, to connect me to some people, and help pay for some of the networking I would be doing there. I enjoy teaching guitar, so I sent letters and resumes to a few places. One place wrote back saying I should reapply if I ever move close enough. Whoa.
Anything but local: A road warrior is born.
A nice thing about moving away from some place is that people want you to come back. Since moving to Pennsylvania, I’ve gotten to do several cool things in Nebraska. Also, being from Alabama, I’ll be returning there quite a bit. I like to joke that if I could move six or seven more times, I could tour most of the year. It doesn’t seem like so much of a joke now. And really, what does one need to do a concert in an area? I say about 25 friends, who will each bring one of their friends to your concert. Guess I better get out to Philly and make myself 25 friends”¦