Music is my compass. I am a freelance musician, educator and community artist. I would be scared to see how long this response would take if I was speaking for anyone else but myself (although, currently, I am at the helm of a wonderful thing called the Hornepayne Community Arts Project, and can’t pass up on the opportunity of  wishing the brave music and theatre graduates from Mohawk and Centennial Colleges respectively huge congratulations and my support as they enter our community at this crazy time!) 

When COVID-19 hit, I watched most of my summer plans for performance, collaboration and travel crumble over the course of a week. A lot of festivals and venues are cancelling or suspending activities all the way through till September. 

As someone with a part-time contract at a post-secondary program, I was lucky to have a bit of an extra cushion. It has given me a (small) bit of breathing room to figure things out – but I am sending love and solidarity to my colleagues who, like me, are seeing a cancellation of the work that sustains them through the four otherwise lean months while we wait to find out if enrollment will allow our rehiring in the fall. The added uncertainty of what will happen next school year means that ultimately the thing I have had to let go of is any small bit of certainty I have found in my career as an artist.

Of all the things I will want to pick up on once circumstances allow, one stands out.  Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an Ontario Arts Council grant for a collaborative community arts project in the amazing township of Hornepayne, in Northern Ontario. Our last community visit has been indefinitely suspended, and the summer arts employment strategy that we were working on is in suspended animation while we wait to see how granting bodies will respond, or whether we’ll be given the opportunity to re-imagine our project to respond to whatever restrictions are likely to be in place through the summer.

But! I have a whole bunch of incredible community partners up north and down here, and some of them are brilliantly and bravely reframing their work and pushing forward. It looks like students from southern and northern Ontario will come together for an online presentation as part of some kind of collective “Music Monday” celebration – even if we have to pick a Monday in June instead of the early May official day we had been working towards. It’s nice to know that the collective will is to still celebrate what we’ve done. We’ve set our new goal as “The First Monday that we can all be together in the same place!”

Meanwhile, it’s a bit like like safely navigating a long curve on a motorcycle – you have to look at where you want to end up.

As an artist and musician, I’m giving myself time to incubate ideas, to create music for myself now that the college semester is over, and like anybody else, giving myself permission to feel whatever comes up during this strange time. Maybe by the time this is all over, I’ll have created something new that I feel like sharing.

In my work as an educator and arts facilitator, I am trying to make frameworks for things, rather than concrete plans, so that I can stay as adaptable as I can to a situation that seems to be changing every minute. 

For people reading this  who want to stay in touch with what I am doing and planning,  I took myself off social media a while back, and my website is about as interesting as I am in maintaining it (which is to say, not so much right now).  However, at the moment, I am the human engine behind the social media for the Hornepayne Community Arts Project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or at so you can, as often as not, find me there.

As for where to pin myself on the map, this is hard. Mostly, I’m in COVID land! One pin belongs in Hamilton Ontario – I am providing the postal code for Mohawk College rather than my home address. . But another pin definitely belongs in Hornepayne, Ontario. (And there’s another heart-shaped pin that belongs at M5T 2N4 in Toronto. But that’s another story!

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