My entire life, I’ve never been one to ask for help. I hardly ever raised my hand in class, never volunteered the answer to a question, and absolutely despised group projects. It’s not like I didn’t always need the help, I just had this feeling that I could always come up with the answer if I tried hard enough. Could always finish a project in spite of my team members, not because of them. I admit that this is an extremely shallow life philosophy, but it permeates many aspects of my life.
I think what it boils down to is having control over your own destiny, not leaving it in the hands of others when you don’t have to. Success, as well as failure, is yours, and yours alone. I’ve felt this way about CW Studios since the beginning, and still do, but recent changes have forced my hand.
This fall I accepted a full-time position with the Penn State School of Music, furthering their livestreaming efforts and creating content for their online media channels. I am so grateful to be able to continue what I’ve started there, and be the one to make it a world-class channel for those seeking our performances from around the world. But while I’ve started putting in more time for the school, so have I become interested in supporting other music groups in this area. We have an amazing pool of talent spread between small chamber groups and individual artists, and what we provide is a way for their music to be heard outside of a 200 foot radius. But there are only so many nights and weekends, and there is only one me.
I suppose that a sign of success is the necessity to ask others for help, and I’ve finally reached that point. I haven’t figured out how to break the laws of physics in order to be in two places at once, so that option is out. And in reality, it’s probably good that someone else knows how this operation runs in case I should get hit by a CATA bus. But I’m finally reaching the point where saying ‘no’ is not an option. And fortunately for me, I have a few people close to me that I trust enough to help me reach my goals.
And so on a recent Sunday, when I had to be in two places at once, I was ready. Which led to the most stressful, surreal, and ultimately exhilarating day I’ve had in a long time.
Both the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra and the Penn State Symphonic Band/Symphonic Wind Ensemble were having performances that needed to be recorded and livestreamed. Luckily for me, they started an hour apart, but were on different sides of town. After setting up for PCO and leaving it in very capable hands, I headed off to Eisenhower for the school event. When I got there, I tuned into the PCO performance, on my own website, and for the first time, run by someone other than me. It was such a strange feeling. But you know what? It looked and sounded great, and by the end of the day over 100 people that were not able to make it to Boalsburg tuned in, people that could be potential concert-goers, supporters, and donors of that group. Symphonic Band/SWE had almost 250.
And although in my mind catastrophe was about to rain down at any minute, the worst that happened was an untimely and unfortunate meeting between one of my tripods and a woman’s walker.
Ever since I began this business I’ve realized that this day was inevitable, and I’ve spent this whole time dreading the moment it arrived. But arrive it did, and despite a few more gray hairs the result was very clearly a success. A success for which I alone cannot take all the credit. As the business grows, this scenario will only arise more often. But growing with that is my level of trust in others, my willingness to ask for help, and my ability to loosen my grip, even just a little bit.