How I'm Staying Inspired This Winter

It's currently that point halfway through winter when the excitement of the holidays are a distant memory and the anticipation of spring and summer is still just a glimmer in your eye, and you wonder "how am I going to last until spring?"  I've found 2 ways to inspire myself to keep trucking on so that I don't perish in the cold snow, and luckily we're at the point in our season when we're thinking a lot about inspiration. photo 1 (2)

My first tactic to survive until spring is to find something in each day to inspire me to keep going.  Luckily we're getting a few more minutes of daylight each week, and despite the snow, we've had a number of days with beautiful sunshine, and those really help, but most days, I need a little more oomf.  So I've taken to finding inspiration and joy in the simple things like:

photo 3 (1)-a rehearsal recording from our musicians so I can enjoy the fruits of their labor before we hit the stage

-something exciting to listen to keep me company while working from home -- today it's Carmen Jones starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge on Netflix; last week it was Broadway soundtracks (mostly just The Last 5 Years over and over again...)

-a supportive email from someone on Team 5HE

-what others find inspiring as I'm preparing Invoking the Muse to premiere next week

-speaking of Invoking the Muse, this is my first show attempting to join the ranks of 5HE members using iPads!  I've put all my scores on my iPad, and I'm using the sweet pen on one end/stylus on the other Christmas gift to mark cues in the scores!

-seeing a concert from some of our colleagues in the Chicago music world -- experiencing the amazing work of others in our community inspires me to keep working towards providing the city of Chicago and the world around us with as much art as possible to enhance their lives, and in enhancing their lives, my life is enhanced -- cliche, but TRUE!  Most recently, I experienced Chicago Sinfonietta's Martin Luther King tribute concert at Symphony Center, including the American premiere of JacobTV's "Mountain Top", and words cannot express the amount of inspiration that experience filled me with!

-TWO recent recitals by members of Team 5HE, and experiencing their dedication and beautiful music making outside of our rehearsal room or concert stage (Merideth and Drew totally nailed it last week!)

-meeting new people: composer JacobTV a couple weeks ago, meeting other local musicians, connecting with friends of friends

-and making sure I take the time to leave the house (despite the cold) and keep connections with Team 5HE up outsite of the office or rehearsal room, as well as other friends in the city -- just a little bit of human interaction works wonders for the spirit!

photo 2 (2)

But I also find that being really excited about the incredible things to come in the spring make wading through the cold, snowy days more tolerable, because there's a light at the end of the tunnel!  I'm so inspired by what we're working towards next week, next month, this summer, and next season, and knowing that I have things to do as I look forward to these thrilling upcoming projects or events makes time move a little faster!  Here's a few things in the near-ish future that are inspiring both professionally and personally:

-Invoking the Muse, the winter part of our series, premieres next weekend at the University of Illinois-Springfield, and then comes to Chicago the weekend after.  I'm really excited about sharing our inspiration and exploring inspiration with our audiences!

-a new apartment!  I'm moving up in the world into a bigger, better apartment soon, and knowing that more space and a bigger, more functional kitchen is in my future makes me really excited for the possibilities of hanging out and cooking with my friends (both 5HE and non-5HE friends!) and leading a healthier life.

-Harvest at DePauw!  I can't wait for our March visit to Greencastle and for our huge concert in May!  Team 5HE has SO. MUCH. LOVE. for DePauw and Greencastle!

-my best friend's baby shower: bringing new life into the world is surely a way to be excited about the future! Plus, there's cake!

-Luna de Cuernos, our spring series show, is coming together really well.  We've seen some of the in process artwork come in from artist Sarah Becan, and after hearing our wind quintet perform last weekend, I can't wait to combine a new graphic novel with our wind quintet on the stage!

-fresh inc 2014!  Applications are in and being reviewed, and we had a record number of applicants this year!  fresh inc 2013 was probably one of the most fulfilling points of my 5 1/2 years working in the arts, and I seriously cannot wait to make 30+ new friends and facilitate their learning new music and new ideas at the 2014 festival.  Plus, some of 5HE's highest quality hanging out happens at fresh inc, I mean what else would you expect of all of us living together for 2 weeks, so I'm looking forward to even more bonding time with my best friends, too!

-and on the most basic level, the knowledge that in a few months, I'll be able to take my computer, walk down the street, and work at a table outside in the sunshine on the patio at the Heartland Cafe down the street from me is enough to remind me that the warm sun is coming and the future is bright!

So that's what's inspiring me to not give up during this insane winter we're having in Chicago this year.  Where are you finding inspiration this winter?


Images in this post: 1 -- This is my "I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE SNOW!" face. 2 -- My Invoking the Muse work station for the day: computer with PDFs/email, computer with Keynote, clipboard with script, iPad with cues, fancy blue pen/stylus. 3 -- The view of the snow down my block.