“Attitude and Gratitude” these are the words shared by the joyful couple we ran into on our flight to Halifax. Their enthusiasm for life was infectious. They were individuals who embraced and expressed their sense of wonder at the things that most of us have stopped noticing. I’m grateful that we ran into these people at the start of the trip. I’ve already come to lean on these words as yesterday’s exhasution (“Yesterday” meaning some combination of Tuesday-Thursday interspersed with naps), disorientation, and mild frustration at the loss of an expensive piece of recording equipment was palpable.

Now it is 7am on Friday morning after 10 hours of blissful sleep in a rickety bunk bed. It’s amazing how attitude can shift when well rested, fed, and watered (or caffeinated, as the case may be). “Yesterday” we had our first three performances, each with their own unique connections.

First, I played some solo Bach and fiddle tunes during our 4 hour layover in Halifax. I set up outside an empty gate so as not to force solo viola (insert viola joke here) onto anyone’s ears, but rather allow them to come listen if they wanted. They did. One gentleman approached me afterwards expressing gratitude for my performance. He mentioned he was stressing out over work things on his phone, heard the music, sat down, and left his stress for a time. There were many others that showed up and applauded as the Gate 15 audience.

Next, Wormwood set up under the cover of a few trees to avoid the slight drizzle on Buchanan street in the heart of Glasgow. We were met with many smiles, kind words, generous tips (17 pounds in 30 minutes!), and the unwavering attention of a small child and his father. We enjoyed a nice conversation with the father who mentioned his son had never seen anything like it and was clearly transfixed by what we strange adults were doing. Here is Baylen at our first spot.


Finally, we found ourselves in a coffee house as the rain increased, enjoyed the company of friendly baristas, and played a short set for the coffee house.

In each case, our music has brought some form of joy to those that have heard it and opened the door to conversation and connection that likely would not have been there otherwise. I’m excited to see how this way of sharing music continues to open up these doors. In the meantime, I’m going to return to my journaling and attempt to orient myself around these two important words from a stranger.

-BD 6/17/16

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