A Surprise Performance Reminds Us of the Power of Art and Community

I brag a lot about Orlando's arts and culture. There's so much going on here. 

But sometimes, bragging about the events can get in the way of what really makes an awesome and vibrant arts culture : the people. 

Let me share a quick story that inspires me. And while you read, play this video in the background. 

Impromptu performance by Carol Stein at the Timucua White House. Video by Bao Le-Huu. Check out Bao's article about the performance in the Orlando Weekly

The first inspiring bit about this night :
The venue : The Timucua White House in Orlando, Florida. 

In 2000, Benoit Glazier, the former Music Director of Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, started hosting concerts in his backyard. His place, just south of Downtown Orlando was the perfect place to host jazz and avant garde musicians from all over the world.

But over the course of a few years, Benoit decided to take it to the next level and rebuild his house – this time with a venue inside that could host these world-renown musicians. 

The three story, custom designed venue now hosts more than 60 concerts a year. Most of them are free to the public!

Now, the second inspiring piece of this story : 
The night : December 4, 2016

The Timucua House was scheduled to host an artist who was a last minute no show. That's when (according to the Orlando Weekly article) Benoit called one of the party guests into his office. 

Carol Stein, a pianist who calls Orlando home, had shown up to attend the concert that night as a guest. But in the absence of the scheduled performer, she was gracious (and bold) enough to take the stage. 

Over the last week, I've seen so many articles and social media comments about how special the night was as she played an inspiring set of jazz, standards, and some holiday sing-alongs. 

The take-away

First, I love that I live in a city with such talent. Loads of people with the ability to hop on a stage and do what they do SO WELL. And I love that they're willing to say "yes" at a moment's notice. 

So what can we take away?

Embrace generosity

Look at Benoit's example – a man who has opened his house more than 600 times and invited the community in. 

Be prepared

One of the things I love about this story is what it demonstrates about the power of excellence and preparedness. A life of long-term devotion in a single direction sets us up to succeed. And with a lifetime of devotion, Carol was able to step into the moment and shine. 

Value community

I love how this story demonstrates the beauty of community-mindedness. Benoit opening his house. People gathering there. Carol saying "yes" in the moment. And then the magic that happened in the room as the audience came together to take part in the show. Bottom line... go participate in an arts event. You never know what you're going to experience. And often, it's life changing!

Image :  UCF Pegasus

Image : UCF Pegasus