The Symphony Is My Livelihood

Thomas Conducting

Thomas’s Story
My “aha moment” came very early. I was eight years old and went to an orchestra concert with my third grade class. I had never heard an orchestra before, and was fascinated by the sound and the person in front, who seemed to be shaping the sound from the middle of it all. And I thought in that moment that that’s what I wanted to do with my life. It’s remarkable to know that from such a young age, and it really speaks to the power of music.

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Singing Is My Livelihood

Mary Carrick album cover for "Let's Fly"

Hooton Images

Mary’s Story
I grew up in a small Iowa town. My mother is a pianist, and my great grandmother, who lived with us for a time, was too. Piano filled the house. My parents were in the restaurant business and when I was very small we lived in an apartment upstairs. I’d sit on top of the bar while live music played in the lounge. I began Suzuki violin in kindergarten and later added other instruments. I discovered my voice in my teens and I knew I just had to sing.

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Music Is My Livelihood

Philip’s Story
When the doctor told me, “You may never sing again,” and “This is the point where people normally weep here in my office,” I sat and stared at the stethoscope on the wall.

Everything I had been doing for the past 10 years and all my dreams came crashing down Arrows and Soundaround the tiny scars on my vocal chords. I misused my voice on the road, and it was coming back to haunt me. I had known the power of a melody, the power of a song, and I knew the impact that it could have on people’s lives. I knew that it was worth chasing. I knew that it was connecting us with something we can’t really describe but are inspired by; we are moved in our deepest parts by sound.

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Music Is My Livelihood

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Photo by Aaron Zavitz

Hal’s Story
I’ve had the good fortune to make my living as an opera conductor working in the United States and abroad for the past 34 years. A number of those years have been in Nebraska that I now call home.

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Band Is My Livelihood

Tony’s Story
I didn’t come from a musical family. My mother was an English teacher and my father was a mortgage banker. There were pianos at both of my grandparents’ houses though, and I suppose my earliest musical curiosities were explored on those instruments. It became clear early on however that my inclinations were percussive.

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Music Education Is My Livelihood

Kyle’s Story
One of the defining moments in my cultural career was in the fourth grade at Pershing Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was time to try out stringed instruments. Mrs. Rosemary Brown came to our class with violins, violas, cellos, and basses. I was so excited! When it was my turn; she had me try the viola and immediately said, “You have very strong shoulders. The viola will be good for you.” As a 9-year-old boy, I was sold.Kyle playing saxophone

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Teaching Music Is My Livelihood

Paul’s Story
I grew up in a restaurant family. My mother and father served everyone, from the common man to Hollywood legends and heads of state. They simply loved to bring a smile to the faces of those who entered their restaurant. I always figured that I would follow in their footsteps. I simply didn’t have much skill at sports. In school, I was the definition of average.

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Music Is My Livelihood

Barbara’s Story
I have no specific memory of an early decision to play music, no inspiring moment that changed my life, no one person who encouraged me to pursue music as a profession. Instead I remember the kindness of a long succession of church ladies who freely gave piano lessons to the pastor’s kids. I remember my mother’s patience as she put up with hours of piano practice, and later, allowed my brothers to start a rock band in our basement. In our home, music was never a special luxury; it was simply part of life. I would go directly from arguing with my brother to playing duets with him. Growing up without a television encouraged me and my five siblings to play creatively. We sang together, made up nonsense games together, performed together, and not for a moment did we think it was unique or special.

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Music Is My Livelihood

Joey’s Story
I had the good fortune of being raised around music. My dad played the trumpet and had a band. He’d often have a rehearsal at the house and it was fun to hear the music coming from all the different instruments, and fun to see all the guys having a genuinely good time.Mannheim_2012

My older brother started taking accordion lessons (a popular thing to do in South Omaha during the 50s), and he had quite a knack for it. Soon, my dad and brother started rehearsing the music and taught me to sing a few tunes. When I was six, I was pulled from the audience (by surprise) to sing the song “Just Because” with an 50-piece accordion band. I didn’t seem to know about getting nervous, and really ate up the smiles and applause. I believe I was getting hooked on entertaining.

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Creativity Is My Livelihood

Ann’s Story
Creativity is my livelihood. I have several jobs. I am a professional musician (a classical pianist), a teacher, and an artistic director of a major performing arts center. I am lucky each of these jobs is centered on music and the arts and I am given a tremendous amount of freedom to be as creative as I want to be.

shatner

The perks of being the artistic director at the Lied Center – you don’t have to go to a Trekkie convention to see “The Captain,” he comes to you!

As a pianist, the work centers on studying the composer and the piece in particular, and doing my best to eloquently communicate that to the audience. Most of the time, I select the program content, and creativity is a major part in developing the sensitive interpretation of the piece. Managing my own performance career requires a lot of creativity as well, particularly in fitting in tours or concerts within my “day-job” schedules.

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