How to keep the music playing, and me playing the music!

Carolyn Diamond


Having been playing professionally from an organ/piano bench since my teenage years, and now after decades of a successful career in music ministry, I have chosen to become an associate co-pilot rather than the fulltime operator!

With freedom also comes wonderment as to how to keep my music playing, especially with the focus on maintaining a high skill level, engaging audiences, advocating for keyboard music in general, organ in particular, AND giving back.

My entire goal as a musician has always been to connect the music with whomever is listening, be it a congregation or an audience, and whether it is for four people or four hundred! And to deliver that music with the highest technical standards coupled with bountiful energy is a baseline requirement. It is this connective and collaborative thread that motivates me to strive for excellence now and into the future.

Yet to uphold my high standards with limited congregational exposure, I have decided to be purposeful in exploring other opportunities in the following ways:

  1. SAY “YES” to PERFORM on organs and concerts series that may be new to me. This past year I had three major concert performances.
  2. KEEP LEARING NEW REPERTOIRE. There is so much music and so little time, that the present becomes an urgent motivator.
  3. CREATE NEW VENUES. To find a creative outlet for myself and other musicians, I have formed “MUSE: Music Uniting Spirits Everywhere.” This idea has been percolating for some time in my imagination, and it was launched last year on the Winter Solstice. Using my home as a salon setting, this program involved Music (vocal, cello, piano) and Word (scripture, poetry, prose) on the theme of darkness to light. The thirty guests that were present, along with we musicians and readers, were left in a state of beauty and awe. Repeat performances are in the works, and other varied programs are being imagined.
  4. PAY IT FORWARD. It has become a bit of a tradition that I give back by becoming a charitable contribution. Various nonprofit groups have offered me as a silent auction item. I bill it as PPPPP (Pedals, Pipes, Pizza, Pasta, and Pinot!). By donating an organ demonstration and mini recital in my home, along with a casual meal (complete with appetizers that begin with the letter “P”), this event has raised significant funds all while providing education and having fun!

Even though my fulltime work has changed, my full time passion for music and its manifestation endures! To look in the rearview mirror with great gratitude and yet keep an eye on the road ahead, the journey may be more complex, but well worth the effort! Play on!!!

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