I have been wanting to write for a while about the Pacific Coast tour Donna Stoering and I recently did together. It was such a wonderful experience in so many ways. Musically it is always a gift to play with Donna and as we got used to playing with one another more, we became more inventive and spontaneous which was fun. We used to play together often, however due to the fact that we have been living on different sides of the Atlantic ocean, it had been a while.
Each concert benefited a different cause chosen by the hosts, and it was beautiful to see the passion and careful planning that had gone in to the preparation of each event. The causes that were aided included the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Longview, Washington, the Jason Lee Community Food Bank in Salem, Oregon, and Scholarships for the students of the San Jose Chamber Orchestra Youth Programs in California. The concert with the most personal cause was at Mount Angel, Oregon at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The people we met throughout the trip were the most beautiful part and special gift of the whole trip, and the community at St. Mary's Church was no exception. I will never forget them. The concert was to aid a young family with a 14 year old son with Leukemia. He was in need of a bone marrow transplant and the family were in need of funds to help make it happen. I have rarely, if ever, met people with such sincerity and such faith. We were able to spend a little time with the father later in the evening and just by sharing his thoughts about his son he gave such a beautiful witness of his faith, his trust, and his peace, and we could see so much that he meant it and lived it. He and his family were a real example to me and I will never forget them.
The people we met on the tour were truly the greatest gift to both Donna and myself. They were inspiring people from all walks of life and we really enjoyed the chance to talk with them and to hear their stories. They were all such 'doers', it was motivating! They were also such wonderful audiences. The atmosphere of each audience was so different yet they were all warm and open, and as we played such a varied program, they each had their own favourites. It was really very special for us to be able to help others with the gift of music that we have been given. The audience members gave us such encouragement with their words to continue on with this project, and through these concerts more ideas from the audience came of other venues and other causes that they wanted to support which is great!!
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