Although our iconic friendship began years before the pandemic… our project, Creative Baggage, is a pandemic baby! Serena and I met in 2017 during our freshman year of college at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. We both were flute students in the studio of Mimi Stillman.
When COVID-19 hit, Serena was about to present her senior recital and graduate, and I was approaching my junior recital. Like everyone else in the industry, we were shocked and quite frankly terrified. We had so many plans for our last year together in school, and everything fell to pieces. We used to share gigs, put on chamber recitals, and work together as program assistants for Mimi’s ensemble. All of it disappeared in an instant.
Although we were (at times) completely overwhelmed and discouraged by the sudden demolition of our industry, we did the only thing we could. We talked. We talked around the clock (literally, 24 hours a day) complaining, laughing, crying, and most importantly charting out a future for the industry that we knew we couldn’t just let go of.
And so Creative Baggage was born! We decided we wanted a platform of our own, and we went for it. Every week we publish an episode with a new guest on a variety of topics- with the general themes surrounding problems, innovations in the world of music, as well as how creativity can be applied to other professions and aspects of our lives.
Creative Baggage has become so much more than a passion project for us now. We’ve had the chance to connect with professionals around the globe that we never dreamed of working with, reached over 3,000 listens, and even earned sponsorships. Most importantly though, we’ve been able to talk about things in the world of social justice, mental health awareness, environmental justice, equity and diversity, and much more. It’s so awesome to have a safe space where classical musicians can discuss these things and learn from them.
We are currently halfway through our third season. We are looking forward to episodes with all kinds of musicians including many we’ve met on Clubhouse, the revolutionary platform that took the lockdown by storm. We also have an active newsletter and we are working on our Facebook group- a place where all of our pasts guests can connect with each other and collaborate on projects.
Serena is moving to Paris this fall, and we are so excited (I’m totally not heartbroken) to see where that takes the podcast. We expect challenges with the time difference, but Justin (our audio engineer) and I will still be in Philadelphia, PA working together on the “behind the scenes” aspect of the pod. It’s been so wonderful to be fully vaccinated and to be able to conduct in-person interviews again.
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