This summer, I was introduced to adulthood. Sure, it was technically already my fourth year in the business, but this summer it felt official. Waking up at 5:20 AM five days in a row to catch a bus into my job in the city wasn’t just a taste of adulthood: it was a 12 course meal that my gracious yet persistent host insisted I try for myself until I felt so full I wanted to burst.
Most days I felt like a kid playing dress up, like the adults would soon know that I actually wasn’t so sure of myself and finally the jig would be up and they would also somehow discover that at Christmas Eve I get insanely nostalgic and read T’was the Night Before Christmas to myself before going to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job this summer, but sometimes when I got on that bus with the seat coverings that looked like the carpet of a roller-skating rink, I would inevitably ask myself, “What the hell am I doing?!”
But as the summer went on, something changed. Part of it was that I got to know and really like my job, and that I got through a beginning-of-summer-slump. And part of it was a playlist—a playlist of songs that greeted me on the bus each morning and accompanied me on my elevator ride up 31 floors and met me again on the way home as the P76 wound through the hills of Pittsburgh.
As I stood on that cramped bus in my heels at the end of a tiring day of trying to be an adult, that music played through my ear buds, and I knew that I could make it. The songs of my summer were hopeful and nudged me towards an understanding that encouragement and joy and freedom and inspiration can come from a killer banjo solo, a poignant piano piece, or a genius lyric.
As I stepped off the bus with the beat blaring, I realized that music was an inspiring force, and I wanted other people to know about it, too. I realized that music mattered, that music had the ability to tell a story in a powerful and compelling way. As a person who loves stories, I realized that there was one yet to be told at Grove City College: the story of how music transformed our campus.
So as my summer on the bus continued, a new story started to take shape. It was story about a college who pledged to show its students and its community that music has the power to change summers and cultures and even hearts. It was a story about my love of concerts, and my belief that they are some of the most rewarding ways to spend our time. In the end, it was story about making a dream come alive at a college I think really needs more of the freedom and celebration that music, and specifically live concerts, can inspire.
This upcoming week, the “dream goes live,” and you all get to be introduced to the concept of #DreamsGoLive, an initiative to bring better music that we only dreamed of before to the actual campus of Grove City College. You’ll get to see the culmination up to this point of all that has gone into this, and soon after that, you’ll get to hear what artist is coming in the spring…(I can hardly wait!) Next week you’ll get to be part of the long-time-coming story yourself.
This dream wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the contribution of so many people: family, friends, alumni, mentors, co-workers, and musicians I don’t even know. I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people. So thank you…
- Thank you to my friends for asking me how the long planning process was going, for offering to help and coming to help be in our video, and for not laughing when I first told you what my dream was.
- Thank you to alumni and faculty who offered up an email address, or volunteered their time and expertise during meetings and phone calls, and didn’t make me feel like a stupid kid.
- Thank you to Larry Kloess, founder of Cause A Scene Music, for being the best inspirational mentor via Instagram posts I’ve ever had. Thanks for loving music and for believing in dreams, and for sharing to the community around you that God’s grace extends in all aspects of our creative and non-creative lives.
- Thank you to Molly Wicker, my partner in crime with this project, for sticking by my side and for working hard, and for helping me want to do this right.
- Thank you to my family for encouraging me to keep going on those days where this idea seemed so impossible. Thank you for inspiring me to take a chance on this and so many other things, too.
So! It’s really happening. Back on that bus on a 90 degree day in July, this dream seemed so distant.
Inevitably there are many times ahead during the planning to come that I’m going to wake up and think to myself, “What the hell am I doing?!” I’d be lying if that hasn’t already happened a lot in this process, and I know I’m not lying when I predict that’s how my adulthood will go most of the time. But then I’ll get up out of bed, head out into the sunrise, pop in my ear buds, and turn up the volume.
A new day has begun.
“I hope you will join me by stepping into that void with the full confidence that you are not alone, and that your story matters and that your dreams are within your grasp if you’ll just take them one day at a time. We are more than our circumstances, we are more than our past, or our present, or our futures. Hold onto hope, even when your days feel hopeless.” -Larry Kloess, Founder of Cause A Scene Music | Nashville, TN