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I would like to share four pieces of music that I feel embody different aspects of MYFest, each equally important to me.

#1: Giovanni Gabrieli: “Canzona per sonare II” played by the Canadian Brass together with New York Philharmonic & Boston Symphony Orchestra brass players

In this performance of Giovanni Gabrieli’s “Canzona,” the brass players are playing in different parts of the concert hall. They are far apart, yet able to play together. I connect this with MYFest because we’re in different places, playing different roles. Each of us is unique and has special talents and knowledge to offer others. We’re also very good at listening to one another. I especially like that we can participate in our own way without fear of being mocked or shamed. As a result, because we trust each other, we make beautiful music together.

#2: Ralph Vaughan Williams: “The Lark Ascending” performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra

What I wrote on the MYFest Music Padlet two months ago about Ralph Vaughan William’s piece is still true today:

“The Lark Ascending” is one of my favorite orchestral pieces. The solo violin weaves in and out of the other instruments as though it is a lark rising into the sky and soaring through the air.

For me, this piece represents this MYFest. I feel like I’m a lark exploring interesting parts of the landscape and interacting with different people, ideas, and ways of knowing. In the MYFest each of us emerges, takes flight and goes our own way while still being part of a flock or multiple flocks. The wind could blow us a certain direction or even different directions; we might need to rest for a bit on a branch; perhaps we need to care for our young. Still, we can return to the MYFest community and feel welcomed.

At different points of MYFest, we’ve touched on both the flight of single birds and murmuration, the coordinated flying patterns of thousands of starlings. Both are apt metaphors for the MYFest experience. Each of us has the freedom to choose individual learning paths, but that doesn’t preclude us from coming together in smaller and larger groups to discuss and/or write about topics that are important to us.

#3: Clara Schumann: “Nocturne Op.6 No.2,” played by Tiffany Poon, pianist

For me, Clara Schumann’s “Nocturne” for solo piano is the perfect piece for mind wandering. While the pianist’s left hand generally follows a soothing pattern that lulls my mind into a restful state, her right hand explores lovely melodies that swirl and ebb, luring me to new places. When I give myself time and space to daydream, I have interesting ideas and make connections that I otherwise might not have or make. These ideas and connections sometimes turn into useful reflections. I feel MYFest offers us plenty of opportunities to reflect. Reflection is often woven into the synchronous Zoom sessions. After sessions, there are lots of ways to reflect, either privately, or with the group via Slack, Padlets, blogs, Twitter, etc.

#4: Bedřich Smetana: “The Moldau” played by Valérie Milot, harpist

I’m ending my MYFest playlist with an arrangement of Bedřich Smetana’s “The Moldau” for harp. In May Imad’s session, Understanding and Mitigating the Impacts of Toxic Stress: Co-Creating Conditions for Healing, we touched on the ripples our ideas and work might have on others. This metaphor has really taken hold in MYFest, and the rippling music in Smetana’s “The Moldau” fits beautifully. My MYFest learning journey won’t end when MYFest ends. There is still so much to unpack in the materials, tools, and ideas we’ve shared with one another synchronously in the Zoom sessions and asynchronously in Slack, the Padlets, Twitter, etc. I have already tried out ideas in my classes this summer and will try out even more next semester.

These four pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Clara Schumann, and Bedřich Smetana represent cherished individuality, coordinated connections, a space for reflection, ripples now and beyond MYFest, and a safe harbor to flourish.

The header photo shows a field bathed in late afternoon sunlight in Germany.