“I’m excited, but this isn’t an easy place to leave.”
This has been my mantra for the past few weeks, inside and out.
Let’s start with the first part: I’m excited about moving to Seattle! I’ll be taking on a new marketing role with Seattle Theatre Group – a cultural hub for the Pacific Northwest – and I couldn’t be more thrilled or honored. The city is beautiful and I can’t wait to explore all the sights and sounds (and caffeine options) it has to offer. I’m eager to jump into a music scene that’s new to me (I guess grunge is big there or something). I’m looking forward to joining friends who have already flocked to Washington’s grey skies (perhaps to trade snow for rain?). And, truth be told, I’m happy to close the 1,667-mile-gap on a long-distance relationship (yep, every mile counts).
To be sure, there’s plenty to be excited about. However, any huge move comes a potent cocktail of emotions.
So, in comes the second part of my mantra: this isn’t an easy place to leave. The “place” is interchangeable – The Current, the Twin Cities, Minnesota, the Midwest – saying goodbye to each of these communities is really tough. I’m a Midwesterner through and through; I grew up in Milwaukee, spent undergrad in Madison, and trekked to the Twin Cities in 2014 to accept my job as music assistant at The Current. (Insert jokes about my constantly moving westward here.)
Much of my role as music assistant has been to be knowledgeable about and active in the local music scene on behalf of The Current. When offered the job, this was a responsibility that equally excited and terrified me. I was confident in my enthusiasm for the task, but worried that my “outsider” status might prevent me from connecting with and championing this community to the extent it deserved. Thankfully, my fears quickly went away, as I was warmly welcomed by so many people to whom I owe many thanks.
The team at The Current are a ridiculously talented crew and although they don’t often like to toot their own horn, I am choosing to take this space to do it for them. Every day, I have had the chance to “work hard at work worth doing” (T. Roosevelt, via L. Knope), alongside people I respect, admire, and enjoy. These folks have been an excellent support system and made me feel at home right away, both at The Current and in Minnesota. They are unquestionably the reason I have loved my job so much. Sometimes (read: multiple times), in what may be misconstrued as hazing, they’ve assigned me the task of listening to an artist’s entire catalog and meticulously adding it to The Current’s library – but since I know they have my best interest at heart, I trust I’m all the better for it. (Dylan lyric trivia showdown, anyone?)
The Current may have been my entry point, but I’ve found the Minnesota music scene as a whole to be incredibly welcoming and collaborative. Having worked music jobs in other cities before, this both impressed and surprised me when I arrived here. It’s been inspiring to see so many talented artists support and advocate for one another. I have had the pleasure of working with many musicians who do amazing work in our state and have loved every minute I’ve spent in such creative company. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this community and can only hope that my small contributions have only added to its awesomeness.
My feeling grounded in Minnesota is thanks in large part to the venues I’ve come to call second homes, all of which have given me happiness, comfort, and memories. I know I won’t ever forget dancing (and crying) in the street during any of the stunning Prince tributes, or rocking out at First Ave four nights a week, or crowding the Clown Lounge for local shows that felt more like intimate parties, or watching the sun set against the Minneapolis skyline from countless summer festivals. Some people say it’s hard to make friends as a transplant in Minnesota, but I have to wonder if said people might be living under a rock (or at least far away from the neon signs of the the Triple Rock or Entry).
You’ve won me over, Minnesota. You’ve made me one of your own. Thanks for everything. Thanks for the home.