Music by Women Festival 2019

It has been a little while since I attended an event as a composer. I still want to retain this really noble role that I have the privledge to play, so I submitted “A Star Ferry Ride” to this festival, and very fortunately, I have this honor to be part of the festivities.

It is not exactly an easy trip though. Somehow things have gotten really crazy and messy right before the trip and it is really risky to fly standby. Somehow I had the luck to board every flight my pilot friend booked for me, I guess my good fortune is now all consumed.

My drive from Birmingham to Columbus, MS was something I really needed at this point. In Minnesota it is still white and snowy, I needed the greenery and the sight of lively woods, even though I must have hated it so much driving through woods many times. As I arrived in MS with a basically exhausted and broken heart, I decided to take the night easy and just have some Southern home cooking that I don’t get to have back in the north. I stopped by Helen’s and I was a little confused about the sight I was seeing. There were many torn houses and bricks everywhere. The city just experienced a severe storm and this is so sad to see. Somehow the restaurant remains standing and intact, and I had some of the juiciest fried chicken, sweetest yams and collard greens ever. The family was also a great example of Southern hospitality. I didn’t do my homework, not realizing that they didn’t accept cards, Ms. Helen just let me go and told me to pay when I am back. I will always remember the conversation I have there. About food, about a family from CA to Chicago to the deep south, politics, religion (Islam and Judaism!) I forgot the fun and joy of talking to people with a very different background, and I love learning about grassroot knowledge. Being educated is amazing, but, it lacks genuinity sometimes. And being direct and straight-forward is a totally underrated merit. The next morning, as I was trying to make sure that I could go back home before a snow storm hits, I decided to take my morning a little easy as well. Stopping by a coffee house near the university and had an amazing cup of New Orleans-style coffee. It is so much better than Cafe du Monde, probably because of the cream and cinnamon, but hey, it is still way better. There I said it. The sausage cheddar muffin is equally amazing. I guess I will make some and freeze them.

I spent more than half a day at the festival, hearing a lot of really inspiring music. It is really a good reminder that there are so much good music, by men and women, everywhere. I just wished more people can hear these sounds and think more about different aspects of life. My piece was rehearsed for half an hour and then on stage. It was probably the best rendition I have heard so far. Not only because it is played by two really experienced performers, but also the hall’s acoustics. It works so well for tuba. I also have met some people who have really big ambition and are getting through the game called academia. We all are learning from each other, and have a female professional network. The sisterhood is quite beautiful I must say. There are quite a few presenters/composers that are returning participants. That’s something quite magical.

I had to cut the trip short so as to avoid cancellations because of the thunderstorms in MS/AL, and then snow in MN. Driving at 2 am was not fun but I somehow had the big luck to get on board for both flights when I was the last one on the standby list for both flights. I saw that people at the conference had to take shelter because of tornado warning, while it is snowing/raining outside my apartment…I’m on my way getting through the missed homework and back to the grind.

I missed composition for sure, I have signed up for a festival and will have a first try. Nothing is certain but I look forward to start something new.

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