Nearly 2 weeks had passed since the Gala, and I will be going back to Kinshasa in one week!
A lot had happened in the past two weeks.
First of all, Music Beyond's co-founder Nana Aomori had left the organization. Nana had brought so much life to the organization and to the students we teach, which I am determined to keep it alive. It was sincerely a great pleasure to work with her. I wish her all the best, and I know she will continue to be successful in bringing joy to people in the world through her talent, intelligence and beautiful heart.
Between the aftermath of the gala, change in organization and the preparation for the teaching trip, it has been a tough 2 weeks. However at the same time, this time has given me a chance to really realize "Why" I do what I do with Music Beyond.
Music Beyond's mission is "to train and empower musicians to make them more confident both as musicians and teachers to create better mentors and community leaders. That will then not only create a self-sustaining music community, but have a lasting impact to the youth they teach and to the greater community."
And of course, that is exactly why I do what I do.
But I decided to dig a bit deeper and trying to realize what exactly is motivating me to work hard towards Music Beyond's mission.
So today, I thought I would share my personal "Why" with you.
There are many underserved music communities everywhere. There is also of course a huge one in my home ground New York City. Realizing Music Beyond's ideas within the US would still achieve the goal - to empower/help passionate self-taught musicians to become music teachers. Plus let's face it, it would certainly be more cost effective, which is a great thing for such a small start-up NPO like Music Beyond. Yet I decided to focus on developing countries... "Why?"
My first answer would be "Because they deserve it!"
Their life is extremely hard. For example in DRC, there have been years of conflict involving not only different tribes, but neighbouring countries. Millions have been raped, killed and displaced. As a result, this country, one of the world's richest in minerals, became one of the poorest. Only 5% of the population has a steady source of income, so they all struggle to find jobs each day, and they literally must worry about their next meal.
Yet, people are thriving. They are trying their very best to make their lives more fulfilled. Some of them are doing so through music. So if I - a flutist with a very fortunate education and career, can help them to be more fulfilled as musicians, I am absolutely determined to give any help I can possibly give.
Some might say, "There are people who share the same passion elsewhere in the world, including USA, with or without years of conflict." Very true. The difference to me is that there are many people who can teach musicians in the countries like US. There is enough well-educated talent here. This does not however mean that there are enough people who are tackling the problem right now, and I realize there still is a huge need. But at least there are resources.
In developing countries like DRC however, there is no one who can do that. Music Beyond has decided to empower musicians in a way that cannot be done from local resources. Even though this means more funding is required, with more logistical challenges and risk, I still firmly believe that making a difference to individuals and subsequently the individuals they teach will create a better community in the future, even in the poorest of countries with many problems.
So there, of course I knew this all along, but by really re-thinking and putting them down in words made me more than ever determined to make Music Beyond a successful organization!
Now I would like to announce the new team of Music Beyond! I am excited to welcome Madeleine Davidson as Vice President & Secretary and Nichole Heid as Treasurer.
Madeleine has been working at a large music nonprofit organization in New York for the last 4 years and held multiple roles at the organization, including assistant to the director, department head, human resources manager and teaching artist. She is an accomplished classical guitarist and about to complete her masters degree in nonprofit management. I am so happy to have her, as she will be a wonderful asset who can bridge the business side and the music side of Music Beyond!
Nichole has been working at several prestigious boutique firms with quality clientele in New York for over 7 years. She is an experienced accountant in both for-profit and nonprofit sector. I can't thank her enough for her patience and generosity in dealing with such a small startup nonprofit to make sure to keep our finance absolutely healthy!
These amazing ladies with tons of experience will support and help expand Music Beyond from NYC ground, and I am beyond grateful!
Lastly, thank you so much for your ongoing support. Music Beyond will continue to work hard to make an enduring impact in countries like DR Congo. One small step at a time!