Risa de Gertrudys

Srivi Kalyan © 2014

Risa de Gertrudys (Gertrudys’ Laughter) is a catch-all term I’m using for the concerts, classes, and other cultural events I’m organizing and leading as a volunteer in the Boston area and beyond.

Examples of Risas: a concert at a senior center in Jamaica Plain, a weekly musical exploration class for immigrant youth at the Welcome Project at the Mystic Learning Center in Somerville, a creative writing workshop at the Chittick Elementary School in Mattapan, MA (in collaboration with the 4th grade teachers in that school).

Risas get me out of the studio, out beyond the insular classical music world, and into the city.

A situation is a risa if I’m able to combine my love of teaching, passion for chamber music, interest in visual art and language learning and literature, and desire to communicate with people in my community who for some reason – probably their cultural background or age or economic status – haven’t been granted access to what I might call the “megaphone of privilege.”

A risa is also a constant, fervent invitation to fellow Bostonian teaching artists to join me in my full-on exploration of our fabulously diverse city and community.

My lovely friend and muse, Gertrudys, and her husband Francisco hosted me in their home nearly every week for a year and taught me Spanish through their warmth, kindness, and encouragement…and of course a great deal of laughter, food, and coffee. I was put in touch with these wonderful people through the program Spanish Immersion JP.

The wonderful reusable event poster (seen on this page) was designed and made by another one of my muses, Srivi Kalyan. Can you find Gertrudys in her yellow dress in this painting? She’s in front and to the left of me, with my violin! Srivi and I were fellow students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2006-2007. She lives and works in Bangalore, India. See more of here work here.


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