Blog post 4 – January 20, 2016 by Marley Giunta
I want to take the opportunity to share my gratitude for one of residents at Unitarian House who has contributed so greatly to the success of my project. Andy showed up at the first lounge room session with an old fiddle and a twinkle in his eye. I encouraged him to play whatever he felt like, and even though he was clearly rusty and hadn’t played in awhile he had the courage to show up and try. There was a bit of an awkward moment on that first day when Andy was struggling through a song slowly, and people were looking anxiously at me like they were wondering, is this what’s supposed to happen? I just kept smiling and listening and giving my attention to Andy to show them that what was happening was great and was what I expected. Then, all of a sudden, one of the other ladies yelled out, “That’s it honey! It sounds great, keep going!” to Andy. His face lit up in a smile and I felt a shift in everyone’s energy, like we all relaxed simultaneously. It was a beautiful and transformative moment, and a memory I will never forget.
Andy got better and better each week. It was amazing. His wife thanked me after a few sessions, telling me that he had a new spring in his step and that he hadn’t played in many, many years but now he’s practicing at home and there is a noticeable change in him. “Tuesday is his day,” she said, “he looks forward to it all week!”
Not only was he a regular and enthusiastic participant in the sessions but I truly could not have done what I did without him, musically speaking. He knew all the old tunes (that I did not!) and helped me figure them out on the spot on my guitar as people requested them. He carried the singsong with his fiddle playing and his enthusiasm. He came to every session and contributed SO much. A stand up man and a great fiddle player with a bright smile and a heart of gold. Thank you Andy!
Marley is a passionate musician and performing artist, as well as an award-winning songwriter. She continues to compose for guitar and voice, as well as explore other art forms that inspire her and enrich her musical world.