East Bay Community Music Project

Music Is Community!

EBCMP Stories: Faye Stevenson

on December 19, 2019

Faye has a busy life as a small business owner and a mom, so we wanted to know what motivates her to invest time in the East Bay Community Music Project. For the past several years, Faye has regularly attended our Sunday Gatherings, Seasonal Festivals, House Parties, and Family Campouts, and also serves as a Board Member.

Recently we sat down with Faye to learn a bit of her story…

What role did Music play in your life before EBCMP?

“My most memorable and influential music experience was being in high school choir for four years. When I graduated from high school I didn’t really continue with music because I wasn’t on a performance track, and I wasn’t part of any organized religion. There was a real absence of music in my life for over 20 years, basically until I came to EBCMP. I definitely felt the lack and I missed it. But I didn’t know how I could do music without being a pro in some way.”

Faye beaming from a difficult Pilates pose
Faye teaching at East Bay Pilates

What about your Dance background?

“After high school, I switched over to dance and in college became interested in vernacular dance. I studied the ways that dance could be used as a vehicle for social change – and for building awareness around issues of social justice. I was fascinated by African dance forms as well as the English Folk dance tradition. I aspired to be a dancer for a while but I had too many varied interests and I was really more interested in healing. I realized that I had to earn money so I became a Pilates instructor.”

What was the turning point in your life that brought you back to Music?

“When I had my son Liam, my body suffered during the childbearing process. My core was a mess and here I was, a core instructor. I was really struggling in my life! I had kept in touch with my high school choir teacher and she said, “Faye, you have to have music in your life.” I thought: she’s right– it’s just been way too long! A friend told me about EBCMP. I came to my first gathering and I was in it from day one! In the beginning it was kind of intense– I hadn’t looked at a piece of sheet music for 20 years, and my son felt overstimulated, but eventually we found our groove. We both have a sense of belonging, contentment and joy in going.”

Faye with her son Liam and husband David

How do you experience the community aspect of EBCMP?

“Oh, We love our EBCMP friends! I really appreciate having these friendships with these people. We have playdates with folks outside of the gatherings and it’s really nice for both Liam and me to feel like our EBCMP friends are friends for friends sake. They’re friends because we have a common interest and passion. We do have a few family members in the area, but we don’t interact with them much and we’re not part of any organized religion, so it’s very nice for us to have and feel that sense of community.”

How has EBCMP impacted your musical life?

“I would say that the East Bay Community Music Project has overall just brought me back into the fold of music. After EBCMP helped me reconnect with my musicality, I joined the Revels Solstice Ensemble, so now I am singing in another context too, which has been really great for me! Then, In 2018, I took Doug Goodkin’s Orff workshop series for song leaders. That was great because I learned some other participatory music activities that now I’ve been able to share with people – at Liam’s school and at Cazadero Performing Arts Family Camp.

In a way, attending Cazadero for the first time this past summer was a test of what it was like to dive into a new musical community with the skills and experience I’ve acquired from EBCMP. I actually felt really comfortable! I ended up taking three different singing classes. In addition, last year I was able to organize a four week drumming class for my son and some other children. The classes were taught by Yari Mander, who I met at EBCMP. It was really neat that through the East Bay Community Music Project I had the connections to make it happen. It was great for my son and it was great for all of us. I now feel like I have more agency over music in my life. I feel like I can participate and create community music experiences.

We hope you will join Faye in supporting us financially and we hope to see you at one of our upcoming programs. Learn how you can get involved.

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