Just thinking here today about privilege. On a bright summer-like day here in Lacombe, it's hard not feel enlightened by the frisky robins in the yard singing with sweet conviction. And this strong Nicaraguan coffee feels like a metaphor for the privilege I take in daily, often without acknowledging its power and the cost by which it ended up in my hands. I often think back to my work and travels in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Honduras and Mexico and made hyper aware of my privilege. I've found that the only way to feel alright about it is to keep finding way to give back. Maybe you're reading this and thinking about the white privilege you see around me, as you should. It’s a privilege that makes me uncomfortable and I still don’t know how to talk about it properly. But what I’m thinking about today is more along the lines of generosity. I keep learning about generosity from all kinds of people; sometimes in the form of dollars but mainly in the form of human kindness and love in action.
I have experienced so much support from so many incredible and generous people. In the North American culture I enjoy observing and critiquing, it can feel like generosity is a dying virtue. So many people you see making decisions based on fear, greed and hurt and maybe a lack of generous people in their lives. For me, the past year has been full of changes, challenges and big decisions. It hasn't necessarily been easy on my closest friends. Some haven't been able to stick around but many have and I’m amazed by how they understand how difficult it is to prioritize art & music in life and somehow know how to support me through it all. I owe a lot of gratitude to my friends and family who share my beautifully complex dutch Christian Reformed roots - many of whom I am constantly humbled by and as my friend Tim Wood said, you inspire me to be a better human. I am also in awe of the new people who have come into my life in the past while. I want to name you all but there are too many and I don’t want to leave anyone out. Also, you know who you are.
I don’t generally like to be this publicly sentimental but there's a lot of gratitude in my heart I just have to acknowledge. I really wouldn’t have the life that I have if it weren’t for all the incredible people I get to know.
Lots of things on the horizon here: new videos, a Via Rail train tour in May with an amazing human who goes by Billie Zizi, the big move to Calgary in June and a summer of festivals, some with the “Justine Vandergrift Trio” featuring two great dudes: Harry Gregg and Trevor McNeely.
If you didn’t pick it up in the paragraphs above, I want to say thank you to all of you who have encouraged me to keep writing and playing music, especially when I am crippled by self doubt and ready to throw in the towel. Your generosity has been my refuge.
|Live Music at Raw Bar Raw Bar, Calgary||Raw Bar, Calgary|
|— —||WIDE CUT WEEKEND Various Locations in YYC, Calgary||Various Locations in YYC, Calgary|
|Rocky Mountain House Music Shop The Record Store, Rocky Mountain House||The Record Store, Rocky Mountain House|
|Alberta Arts Touring Alliance Shell Theatre, Fort Saskatchewan||Shell Theatre, Fort Saskatchewan|
|Gravity Cafe with Benjamin Longman Gravity Cafe, Calgary||Gravity Cafe, Calgary|
|Regina show with Mariel Buckley TBA||TBA|
|Andrew Neville and The Poor Choices with Mariel Buckley and Justine Vandergrift The Times Changed High and Lonesome Club, Winnipeg||The Times Changed High and Lonesome Club, Winnipeg|
|The Hub on Ross The Hub on Ross, Red Deer||The Hub on Ross, Red Deer|
|New Years Eve Concert McDougal United Church, Edmonton, AB||McDougal United Church, Edmonton, AB|
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