Last night, I performed with the Cornell Gamelan Ensemble, in Lincoln Hall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca. We prepared four pieces, and performed with two guests, Jessika Kenney and Pak Harjito.
We rehearsed Monday night, the group finishing around 10pm. I was part of a smaller collective that stayed late for more playing time. There weren’t many of us, maybe just five, and it was really just the best of the group, and then me. World class musicians – like Harjito and Jessika – representing Persia, Indonesia, Canada, and the United States.
What we played felt so beautiful to me, and here I was, a part of it. A part of this experience. There is no arguing that I have the same level of musicianship as any of those I played with – just a photographer by trade – and yet I felt vividly that this moment couldn’t be achieved without me. I knew that all of the experience I brought to that moment was part of all around me, that this couldn’t have happened if my understanding of beauty weren’t brought to the mix. My presence was no bigger, but no less. It was an essential piece of the whole.