“I’ve known Mr. O for a very long time. Looking back, he kinda feels like my kooky uncle or something… It’s like he created this beautiful band family that stretched through many different generations.”
Former Student – George Stevens Academy – Class of 2012
Instrument: Bass Guitar, Vocals
Describe how music has impacted your life.
I’ve been drawn to music ever since I was little, when I first started out on the cello. By 5th grade I’d chosen the bass guitar as my instrument and have been playing ever since. In 8th grade, Mr. O invited me to audition for the GSA Jazz Combo. Throughout high school, I continued playing with this group, traveling around Maine and out of state, performing at Jazz festivals and competitions. In college, I majored in Music Performance and Communications, continuing to study jazz and composition. All this inspired me to move out west, to Portland, Oregon, where I began playing professionally. Over the last few years, I have been touring across the U.S. with two different Portland-based bands. As of now, I work as an Artist Services representative at a music distribution company called CD Baby.
Music, to me, has become a second home. It’s a space where I can be my truest self, where I can say something powerful without having to speak, where I can listen to others through their movements and expressed emotions. At times, it’s illuminated a darkness, and at others, it’s brought forth a feeling of pure alignment and joy. I think, ultimately, music allows us to feel connected to the soul of a person and to ourselves. Walls and divisions fall away and we simply become vessels sharing a sense of purpose. Music is therapy to me, and will always be a place for grounding and re-connecting with myself.
To see a recent performance by Grace, see here.
Describe your connection to Mr. O
I feel like I’ve known Mr. O for a very long time. Looking back, he kinda feels like my kooky uncle or something. He taught my older sister, Addie, during her time at GSA, along with a few of my close friend’s older siblings. It’s like he created this beautiful band family that stretched through many different generations. I feel as though he saw a spark of something in each of us and tirelessly encouraged us to explore that. Ultimately, he was/is my favorite teacher of all time. I can’t imagine a GSA experience without his unique presence and character. I will be forever grateful for his guidance, determination, and quick wit. He truly has one of the warmest hearts around! I still see Mr. O when I visit my family in Blue Hill, often times, busy playing away up at Barncastle or at the Pentagoet in Castine.
Describe Mr. O in three words.
Exuberant, Strong-willed, Loving
What is your most memorable story involving Mr. O?
There are too many to count. One time, we were playing a show at Fairwinds Flower Shop and the battery in my bass died. It was halfway through the show, and my mom had to frantically run out to M&H in order to get a new one. In the meantime, Mr. O took on the roll of entertaining the entire crowd while I nervously awaited her arrival. Watching him during these pauses was always my favorite. Basically any story I think of involving Mr. O involves a lot of silliness and his expressive eyebrows. Lunchtime everyday in the band room also comes to mind.
If you could ask Mr. O any question, what would it be?
What does music mean to YOU?
Favorite Mr. O quote or phrase: