There’s no denying the Alaskan awakening is hitting us all right now, our every fiber collectively shouting, “Summer, here we come!” As the Arctic’s most dynamic and invigorating season descends, it begs for celebration and inspires creative expression. As summer gets underway, Alaska’s artistic inhabitants are eager to oblige. Alaska positively teems with ALL things art, but for those of us with a musical affinity, it's the bounty of music found front and center at the many outdoor markets, city events, and seasonal festivals that we’ve most eagerly anticipated.
In my line of work, a specific confession is routinely offered up when someone finds out I’m a music teacher: “When I was a kid I didn’t practice.” I can see the guilty party getting ready to wince, almost expecting me to whip out a ruler at this admission. Without fail, what immediately follows is, “But I wish I would have stuck with it so that now I could really play!” That last part is usually said in total earnest and (I’m pretty sure) not just to escape the whack of the ruler. The specter of the missed opportunity to become a good player haunts many “ex”-music students. Those who gave up their instrument will readily admit not having the discipline to have kept up on practice, yet seem to honestly regret the fateful--and maybe premature--decision to quit altogether.
For Robin Hopper, harmony means home. She remembers her father strumming his guitar while the family sang along. Her grandmother would sing songs about anything Robin could think of while she played her taropatch, an 8-string ukulele, despite Robin's best efforts to stump her. But, as much as Robin loves music, family is something even more important to her. “Family is everything,” Robin explained. “It’s the people who love you the best no matter what and the people who understand you without you needing to explain yourself. It’s that sense of belonging without having to worry about what people think or what’s going to happen.”