When Prayers Go Up, is about keeping my dreams alive with my thoughts. My life has been a great struggle, like most college students striving for better things. My first struggle was my family situation. I loved my family and always felt blessed to learn from my family members, but in reality I was the first person in my family to ever inquire a higher education in college. It started out of a very negative situation, where my parents divorced and I was not able to finish high school. Then, I began to associate with all the wrong people, and ended up in big trouble. After, paying extremely for my mistakes, I decided to go back to college. When, I mentioned it to my family they could not understand the notion, because of the history of hard work they had accomplished. For them, the only life to conceive was one of very hard work, or employment from 8 to 5p.m. When, I told them that I wanted to go to school for music, I was really in trouble. “Why, spend your time and energy for this type of education, when there is NO work.” But, in my heart I always felt so good when I was involved in the arts. It was my medicine from all the things I was going thru in life, and what was happening in the world. It was my social expression to a society, in which I felt could make a better world.
So, I set my sail forward, and from there I began a journey that would be a struggle of its own, but a good struggle. One that would hold good fortune, hope, global peace and unity. I would always pray about it first, and then picture it in my mind and for some strange reason, it would happen.
I began in community college, where I would study music, dance and performance/choreography. My first teachers would be my greatest inspiration. I can even remember my music teacher in grammar school, Ms. Bell. She would tell me, “Sing out and tell the world what you want.” One of my favorite pieces was “O Holy Night.” I will never forget the soprano part. When, I reached that note in the soprano part, it felt as if I reached heaven. It felt as if there were a million angels around me, and I was able to conquer anything. I took Ms. Bell’s inspiration on a big journey. Then, there was Mr. Bell, an entirely different instructor in community college, who would be the first one to put a classical piece of music in my hand, spoken in Italian. I never knew a thing about classical music, nor had I ever experienced it, but it was at this time I would begin an attempt in this unknown world.
As, I marveled over my inspirations, I still had not really set my sail for a destination. I dabbled in things at school, but now I was focused and started in dance. I was raised up in dance and felt I could really touch others with a spiritual guided or social message. So, I began in this capacity. I focused in choreography and was given a great opportunity by a wonderful instructor Ms. Treagle, to choreograph for stage productions. I will never forget my first pieces, Red shoes and Rites of Unity. Red shoes was a piece which displayed the message of growth, and trying to fit into shoes that were too small, but then finally finding the right shoes, in which one could grow into and steady walk. This was a touching piece for me, because in the growth of life…….I felt very alone and on a path by myself. The sad thing about it, all my friends and family had never came to support me or see me. But, without pity, I continued on this path and there would always be someone in the audience who would approach me, and thank me for the message I displayed. They would say things in such a way that made all of my work and struggle seem effortless, such as, “When, I came hear today, I felt a loss of hope but after watching your piece I now want to live again, and try again.” Wow, I would never imagine that my work could touch peoples heart in this way. So,back to prayer I would go.
My second piece, Rites of Unity was another signature piece for me. Again, I was displaying the inspiration of growth, relations, spiritual evolution and attainment of enlightenment. It not only displayed the need for unity of communities, families and universe, it would also convey the deeper message of spiritual evolution and development of the mind, body and spirit. I realized that I was bringing my own prayers and messages out of myself into a bigger world, and so many people were inspired, including myself. I knew I had to continue, so I packed my things and ventured onward back to the Bay Area.
I continued to S.F. State University, in the study of Dance Ethnology, Performance and Music. It was here that I begin to venture out into the ethnic studies of dance and music, and found deeper meanings in the art forms. I understood, that during histories of repression and oppression that cultural aspects went into some hidden type of secrets left untold. That society had drawn out a standard for the expression of arts, and pushed a whole other side of the arts under a big blanket, in which would be left unexplored. So, it was here I began to reveal the messages and histories that were left encoded in the dances and music. It was like a huge secret library, but when I made the connections I realized that worlds apart were not so apart, and that everything and everyone had very close relations and relative expressions in the arts of music and dance. I was learning how this woven tapestry is sewn together of common mutuality of struggle, growth and achievement and much was displayed through music and dance, which developed another piece, “Conch Us.” This piece was a work in which started with the blowing of a conch shell, as a wake up call. It was a piece that delved into past lives or should I say, “incarnation.” A way of exploring our subconscious mind, to get to our conscious mind. It dealt with death and the release of a loved one to a spiritual world that would serve as a greater communication vessel for ones left still living on earth. With all said, I was being allowed thru my art to express greater messages and works, in which provoked thought, imagination and relativity about who we were as, not just human beings, but humane beings and our love for humanity, or /and the good for humanity. I would have never imagined myself doing works that would touch universal understandings or provoke enlightenment, but here I was…..I thought alone on a path or on a journey, in which many tried to convince me not to take. A path which for me, felt lonely and unsupported, but yet brought an abundance of blessings down for many. It was here that I knew I was on the right track.
I continued the journey further, and then went back to the city I first started. I prayed once again, and low and behold many children appeared. At this point, I began the work in my community, in which I would work with children at an economic disadvantage and create programs in the arts which would further empower and encourage them in their lives. I gave in my community as a charity for eight years, until most of them were grown up and in high school. At this point, I went on to continue my dreams and education in music.
I studied music in my past years, mostly in culturally diverse histories, but now I was led back to my past of classical music. I never knew I would run into some of the greatest instructors and inspirations of my musical life that would lead me back into the unknown world of classical music. I began learning to sing in many other languages, genres and styles, and when I looked out into the audience I could envision nothing more than global peace, hope and unity. In my heart, I decided that my voice would serve like a trumpet or will of our Creator to bring many people together, and it was just that. In our current worlds of war, despair and division, I felt that music could and would be the only common language, in which, could reach masses of people and give them hope for a better world.
This is when I was directed to Notre Dame de Namur, in Belmont, CA to pursue a program in Music of Vocal Performance Arts. It is my wish and prayer to teach, educate and pursue my performance in the arts of music, dance and theatrical works at this time. I decided that the road will always be a struggle, and the journey will always feel alone, but with so many beautiful people to meet and inspire, it could never be a path that would create loneliness, but a path to bring us all together at certain times and places, in order to project enlightenment, hope, unity and a better way to live as humane beings.
It is still a big notion of a dream, but I have been given a little glimpse of making that dream into a reality and it comes with such great light, servitude and glory. It comes with such a brilliance and humble nature of vision, and spiritual admiration that would always keep light piercing at even, the darkest corners of the world and lift those heads whose necks have bent down for so long, whose spirit could never imagine hope, or even light for another day…and lift those heads high where they now see the sky, sunshine and abundance of beauty. love and goodness. Yes, this is my dream and yet has shown me a glimpse of reality, enough to sparkle my eyes with more compassion, and open my heart up even more…in order to sing beauty and teach beauty into our world. So, I say now, “When Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down.”