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Returning Fully to my First True Love

My Harvesting Season Begins

In my life, I have evolved through various seasons. I was once firmly rooted in the nonprofit world when I lived in North Carolina. Then, a different season beckoned me to head west when I moved to Nashville to become a performing musician and work in public health. Years later, another epoch came to pass as I returned to college and surprised even myself by majoring in video and film production.

When I graduated in December 2019, I intended to start performing music again while doing freelance video editing and filming. Of course, a tiny, itty-bitty little mutating virus named COVID-19 had other plans for all of us.

Both film and music industries shut down, and countless music venues closed their doors for good. I essentially went into hiding and created over 40 short films by myself for my YouTube channel to keep honing my craft.

2023 will be what I hope to be my newest season—one in which I harvest all the fruits of my labor over the past decade. First, I have two large creative projects that have been growing roots for a long time. The time has arrived for their unveiling.

Second, I will fully return to my life as a performing musician. The piano and the music I play have always been my first love. As someone who is good at hiding and has lived in the margins, playing music on a stage is the most exposed I ever allow myself to be. My songs carry the sorrows, hopes, and dreams of a delicate life. Sharing them with an audience is a humbling dose of vulnerability that, for whatever reason, makes me feel more alive, authentic, and whole.

I have just signed on to play my first show in what feels like forever. Here is the promotional flyer I designed and illustrated for the event:

COVID-19 has prevented me from doing shows like this, but I have decided to take this small step forward. As such, I will be asking all attendees to wear masks. This performance will be an intimate house show, and it will happen in one of my favorite places to play. Nestled deep in the historic Belmont neighborhood of Nashville, the French House has been the site of many shows and memorable parties over the years. (It was at one such party that I met my partner, but that is another story for another time.)

This residence has its name because it is owned and operated by a charming, sweet, and charismatic French woman who is as beloved by many as she is revered. She has been a friend and an enthusiastic supporter of my music for a long time. I will be accompanied on stage by a couple of talented musicians—guitarist Andrew Weitze and percussionist Joe Allen.

As a preview for this upcoming show, featured above is some older footage of me playing one of the songs I will showcase at the French House. It is called Arabesque. While the spirit of the song is very much intact, what you will see at the show will be the newest iteration of the song—one that is more nuanced, fanciful, and whimsical than what is displayed here. Please excuse the rough footage and audio. I did not know then what I know now. (And my hair is not short anymore.)

For those of you who live in and around the greater Nashville area, please consider yourselves cordially invited to this first performance of 2023. This is a free show, but tips will be accepted. I would love to perform for you.

In a season such as this, I will employ my skills as a songwriter and storyteller, visual artist and designer, photographer, and filmmaker to enhance my music and live performances. For instance, this first house show will be layered with a multimedia component. A lighting display and projections of film vignettes that I have made will accompany my songs. I have always wanted to mount these types of shows, and they will start happening in 2023.

I do not know how much time I have left on this earthly plane, but I know it is time to stop selling myself short. Every season in my life has been weighed down by holding back all or some part of who I am. This season—this time—everything I have nurtured will grow ripe for the giving, and I have so much to give.

Blooms whisper their sweet songs, and my first love awaits.

All music, art, photography by Roqué Marcelo. The photos in this issue were taken in our garden in the woods.

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Where Pianos Roam
Where Pianos Roam
Roqué Marcelo