August 20, 2017
Venue: Cooper Landing School, presented by the Cooper Landing Community School
After months of planning, dreaming, and stressing, Gather Hear was finally launching its very first concert at Cooper Landing; I was extremely nervous in the hours leading up to the concert. Luckily, I was in good hands - my presenter was Virginia, the leader of the Cooper Landing Community School, which offers things like yoga/art classes to the community. The concert was held at the Cooper Landing K-12 public school, where Virginia’s husband, Tommy is the sole teacher. The school only had a total of 12 students! Apparently, Alaskan schools only receive funding when there are more than 10 enrolled students, and it’s common practice throughout the state for teachers to “import” relatives from other states to come live/study in Alaska, so that they can bump up the enrollment number and keep their school in business.
The school gym-turned-concert hall was full with young students from the school, and adults of the community both younger and older. Everyone was perked up and attentive while I played, banding together with me for the first ride of this long journey.
On the previous day, Jarett and I had run endlessly around Anchorage picking up the U-Haul, piano, various supplies/food, etc. I definitely bought an extension chord at Walmart, but somehow had already lost it by the time we arrived at Cooper Landing. Tommy saved the day by letting us borrow the school’s, and also letting us take it on the road for the rest of our time on the Kenai Peninsula until I would pass back through Cooper Landing on my way to the inland portion of tour. His one request in exchange was that I would play for the students at school when I came back to return the extension chord. Of course I was happy to do so for the tiny audience when I returned 8 days later…and I didn’t lose their extension chord!