Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Occupation: I'm a jazz singer but also have been working in politics lately.
Connection to Balkan music/dance: There is no Balkan scene here in Gainesville. I do think it's a place that Balkan music would be appreciated and hope to get musicians together and start playing music!
Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my first time.
Studied at camp: Coming in, I was most excited to learn Bulgarian repertoire and to meet and hear a Rhodope singer in person for the first time. For that reason, at first, I was really tuning into Donka [Koleva]. But while there I became enchanted with the vocal ornamentation of Greek singing. Coming from a vocal classical background, being able to listen to the ornamentations of all styles and hear singers in person was very important and informative for me.
Memorable moment at camp: On the whole, this experience was unforgettable and unique and special. I recall one moment when I was on the porch of my cabin and listening to a Lithuanian ensemble and in the middle of the field a brass band with accordion was playing and thinking to myself what a unique and special village the EEFC creates every year.
But I think the most amazing moment of the week was once very late at night at kafana with one of Ruth and Christos’s ensembles. Although I was exhausted I decided to join this smaller dancing circle and locked into the steps although since I was new to the dances I had occasionally had trouble with other dances that week. It was such a feeling of connection that I had to this group; the band found a perfect groove and it felt like time was suspended. It was very spiritual experience for me and I want to thank the EEFC scholarship committee for enabling me to have it.