I am privileged to play with an incredible community orchestra here in Cincinnati, a community with a rich musical tradition and a vibrant arts landscape.  It is one of the few cities with a professional orchestra, theater, art museum(s), ballet and opera.  This love for the arts translates from the professional arena to the amateur arena.  I can’t count the number of community theaters (25ish), art schools, dance studios and music schools and ensembles (25+ for youth, 30+choirs, numerous orchestras and bands for adults).  There are opportunities to experience the arts as an audience member and an active participant.

I hope to share with you the passion, excitement and commitment that those of us involved in amateur arts making experience every time we pick up our instrument, brush or script.  We do this because we love to, and our lives just wouldn’t be as rich or satisfying if we didn’t.  We don’t do it for the money, yet many of us have trained to be professional artists. Somewhere along the way, we made the decision to make the arts our avocation, not our vocation.

We know we blunder, miss notes, and sometimes don’t practice like we ought to.  But we play our hearts out, because it is what helps us make sense of the years of training and playing we have done, and are reluctant to say goodbye to what has helped shaped us and complete us.

As a professional arts administrator at one of the finest music conservatories in the country, I carve out what little spare time I have to making music.  I have three degrees in music and am lucky to have made a living through the arts.  Playing the oboe for 40+ years has taken demands on my personal life, but I can’t define myself without my music.

Through this blog I hope to share with you the love and work of community artists.  There are hundreds of thousands of us in communities all over the country.  Know that there are schools out there waiting for your call to get you started on something you approached 30 years ago and then life got in the way.  Know that churches and other organizations love to have musicians, artists and other creative types sharing their talents and love.

For it is the arts that describe the indescribeable.  It feeds our soul and heart like nothing else.


Amy Dennison is an oboist for the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. You can find her blog at http://www.oboeamy.wordpress.com/.