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My Inspiration to Sing

by Aubrey Aikens

 

Personally, Valentine’s Day has always been an opportunity to explore what love means beyond the limitations of the traditional romantic connotation. I am fortunate to have been able to foster an intimate relationship with art, and I enjoy taking this time of year to remember the people who have taught me about how music can help me grow.

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I love music

by Chris Medici

 

“I love music. Any kind of music.” The O’Jays

My earliest musical memory is listening to my Mom playing piano at home. As a stay-at-home Mom, she was in charge of raising four sons – not an easy task to say the least. Despite the demands on her throughout the day and night, she managed to escape to the living room to play the piano and sing. This is where I developed a love for the “standards” or songs from the “Great American Song Book” as Tony Bennett often described it. 

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Music is freedom

by Chris Medici

It’s natural to feel trapped in these uncertain times. Whether it’s national politics, a global pandemic or a challenging economy, we live in a world filled with tension, anxiety and unpredictability. This is in addition to whatever may be going on in our individual lives – our job, our relationships, our community. And even though it feels we cannot control or influence the circumstances affecting us, we can control what we do in the midst of this uncertainty.

For me, music is my compass on this journey. It is the path to freedom from the pressures of this life – not a means of avoiding them – but rather a way to express my feelings and channel them into something positive, creative and constructive. Music has been my constant companion, comforting me in difficult times and enhancing the happier times of my life – like the spices I use in my favorite recipes. 

I believe we are meant to connect with others, collaborating and encouraging others to evolve and become the best versions of ourselves. I am fortunate that I found a community of people here at Altered Stage that brings out the best in me and encourages me to evolve as a musician and as a person. Altered Stage is not just a place to learn how to play music; it is a way to build and maintain a connection to other people in a world that at times makes me feel like we’re drifting further apart from one another. 

As we saw this year, we had to retreat to our homes to minimize exposure to the Coronavirus; however, Altered Stage and its members were still accessible through online instruction and virtual collaborations. There were even social events such as game night and karaoke. And these opportunities continue despite what may lie ahead. I am grateful Altered Stage is available to us here in Chicago and to anyone in the world with internet access. No matter the circumstances, I and others can connect with one another to make music and express whatever is on our minds and in our hearts. This is freedom.   

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2020 Vision

by Cristina Filipescu

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Mostly because they put an unnecessary pressure on becoming this “new person”, doing all of these “new things” which is why a lot of people fall off the wagon in the first place. I am constantly striving to be a better person and I strongly believe self improving is an outgoing project. As a matter of fact, our biggest project is ourselves. Goals are better. And this is what I’m going to talk about: small goals I’ve set up over the years.

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Is Eurovision the best thing ever?

by Aubrey Aikens

I. Love. Eurovision.

There’s not much in this world that will make me stop in my tracks and sit in front of a television for days on end. Even though I am a writer-which often seems to be associated with feelings of reclusiveness and long periods of sitting in oversized armchairs-I do not love being stationary.

If I am going to be totally honest with you today (which is kind of the point of this blog), I should just admit Eurovision is the only thing that will keep me focused for more than an hour.

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