I first encountered the world of digital sound as a seven-year-old mesmerized by my father’s reel-to-reel tape recorder. I would sit on his red shag carpeting and record my voice for hours—reading my books onto the long gray tape and playing them back again and again. I remember the astonishment of hearing my voice outside my own head. Years later, as I would listen to the many cassette teaching tapes I created during my college classes and weekend retreats, I would remember back to that early astonishment that recording one’s thoughts for later listening was an accessible possibility.
At the same time, I spent hours in the world of sound, practicing and performing as a pianist, and discovering the joy of collaborating with other musicians. In those days, I became an “accompanist,” though I’m more attuned to the newer descriptor “collaborative musician.” I have been accompanying and collaborating for over forty years, loving the different worlds I have encountered, from excellent choirs to joy filled performance groups. I have loved coming alongside soloists and groups, instrumentalists and singers, bringing notes to life.
But constant music can be hard on the hands, and at this point in my life, I want to remain creative and collaborative for as long as possible. So after years of being told “I could listen to your voice all day,” I have decided to pay attention to these students and friends and have spent the last year retooling for my third vocation: becoming an audio recorder and producer. This challenge assures my post-60 brain that I can still think, and the creative work of transposing meaningful thought to accessible sound opens a fresh path in a life that can’t imagine retirement.
I have often found life challenging, and it is the companionship of books read at the right moment, words digested in due season, that has connected me to deeply hopeful realities, bringing me through depression, loss, heartbreak and confusion, holding my feet on the ground and lifting my head and my heart to find the way yet again. I want to offer the experience of timely words, beautifully expressed, to friends old and new.