Posted by: Reginald Cyntje | August 12, 2014

Elements of this Summer…

So summer is winding down?! Wow! August represents the quiet before the storm. Or more accurately, the busy season. This fall I will be starting my last year in grad school, teaching at Montgomery College, performing frequently and possibly some light travel. I’m looking forward…

This summer has been filled with a full range of emotions, experiences and opportunities. On a personal level, I’ve been grappling with my loved one’s mental illness. The ups and downs created an emotional roller-coaster. With prayer and perseverance, brighter days are ahead.

Then professionally, I was busy getting the word out about Elements of Life. Can you believe we had 8 CD release concerts? Most were in the Washington, DC area. One was in Richmond, VA and the other in the Virgin Islands (also raised money for the IEKHS Alumni Association). Some concerts were successful and others required me coming out of pocket. But overall, the mission was accomplished. CDs were placed in the hands of old and new supporters. 

ElementsI’m also thankful that many radio stations shared the music. I did radio interviews and the album made it to the biggest gainer slot on Jazzweek. Plus, did I mention the great reviews?
Jazzweekcyntje

In addition to working as a bandleader, I had the opportunity to work in various bands including the newly formed Washington Renaissance Orchestra.

WashOrchestra (2) revApart from performing, mentoring was a priority this summer. I met with different trombonists of varying experiences in the DC area and in the Virgin Islands. While in the Virgin Islands, I met with some amazing young trombonists and also spoke with my former teacher about future goals (at least 20 young trombonists leaving the Virgin Islands yearly).

vi2014But with all the exciting musical news, society was weighing heavy on my heart. It would be nice to wake up in the morning and go through a day without the obstacles of institutionalized racism. But that is a convenience not yet available. The death toll continues to rise. Activism is one solution. Education another. Compassion and understanding will help. It’s 2014 and the war is not over on skin color. Don’t walk on the “wrong” side of the street. The penalty? Death by bullets, inequality, choking, psychological warfare and disease… Be careful. Racist landmines are planted every day.

Regardless of atrocities, I remain hopeful. I believe love is the answer. Love inspires me to mentor, to be creative and to grow. I’m thankful. Onward and Upward…

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