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  • Writer's picturet.seguritan.abalos

a spontaneous performance on a borrowed flute

A week ago, I got a text from a Filipina friend from church, inviting me to an outdoor, distanced dinner that day. "Bring your flute," she said. "We have a couple new friends for you to meet."

If I weren't a relatively spontaneous person, I might not have responded well to this.

Not only was my flute in the repair shop, but the flute I was borrowing was a student model. So I'd taken the week off from practicing, to avoid developing bad habits on a cheap instrument.

But as performances tend to go — at least, the spontaneous, outdoor ones — it was all about the joy of sharing my sound with a human audience.

My audience was a small circle of other Filipinas in Pittsburgh. To eat home-cooked Filipino food (!) with them, to listen as they spoke in English and Tagalog about their experiences as immigrants to the USA — it was a simple, organic version of everything I dreamed of organizing for my BXA capstone.

On request, I played whatever I could remember of "Ama Namin" by Manuel V. Francisco. Here are a couple excerpts:

Though unprepared & rough-around-the-edges, this was everything missing from my previous flute-post, in which I recorded a solo video for a senior home:

  • To know that what I'm playing is meaningful, even familiar to my audience.

  • The warm yet somewhat-elusive feeling of connection with people who share your ethnic background, especially as minorities.

  • Being able to see who I'm playing for. Knowing they can see me, and how vulnerable it is to perform.

  • The similarly-elusive connection among women who are in vastly different stages in life, yet share a sense of origin, language, food, faith, and culture.

Living and working in Squirrel Hill, I find it impossible to deny that my appearance sets me apart as "Other." That evening, I remembered how precious it is to belong.


Hello there! Thank you for taking the time to read and/or listen!

If you find the content on my blog meaningful, please consider supporting my work on Patreon.

That way, I can continue to create all of this for free, while balancing part-time jobs to pay rent & student loans :)

Thank you for considering! Take care. ~ Theresa

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