MYCincinnati: If We Were Music

If you were music, what might you do? This is the question I put to members of MYCincinnati (Music for Youth in Cincinnati), a free youth orchestra program in Price Hill. Founded on the idea that personal transformation can be achieved by striving towards musical excellence, MYCincinnati offers children (and now adults, too!) in Price Hill the opportunity to learn violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, or clarinet, and play in an orchestra. MYCincinnati is inspired by El Sistema, Venezuela’s revolutionary youth orchestra program that uses music as a vehicle for social change. Led with energetic gentleness by the amazing Eddy Kwon, and consisting of 110 musicians, MYCincinnati is a true Cincinnati treasure.

So what would these community musicians do if they embodied the music they play? They would keep doing what they are already doing, inspiring through their exuberant embrace of their community and the sweet sounds it makes. But don’t take just my word for it! Experience it for yourself. MYCincinnati is celebrating its 5 Year Anniversary on Friday, October 28th, 6:30 – 8:00 PM in a free concert at Community Matters, 2104 St. Michael Street, Lower Price Hill. Please join us for an evening full of music, reflection, recognition, and celebration—and hear the premiere performance of the group poem we created:

MyCincinnati: Our Music

If I were music I would roam the streets.
I would skip around through people’s feet.
I would go to concerts
and be proud of my music.
If I were music I would put on a show
for people to see,
and every time they think,
they think of me.
They will accept me by my music.
If I were music my main goal
would fuel my soul.
I’d make people feel
that anything is possible
and for change,
happy and hopeful
for things to be awesome.
If I were music I would remind you
of something that had happened
or something that would happen in the future.
I’d crack the concrete
so that pretty flowers would bloom.
If I were music—
disappear the I,
eat the you.
My belly would be full
with all the right tastes—
sweet, salty, sour and green—
sleep coming like a heavy blanket.
What’s most beautiful about music
is that it connects me to you.
I would rock your body in rhythm to our sound,
the whole room moving together as one.
I would make people joy.

Composed by Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel with words by Keyonte Ervin, Pauletta Hansel, Eddy Kwon, Christopher Penman, Corry Penman, Jayden Thrasher, Tamara Thrasher, Trinity Thrasher, Ziuad Tooles and Carroll Wallace.

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Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. On April 15, 2016 she was named Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate. Pauletta is author of five poetry collections, Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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