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{our town interview}

SNAPshot words and photos by Sylvia & Patrick Kibler

Devon Sproule Teacher, Songwriter & Performer

Devon Sproule released her first album, Devon, in 1999 when she was just a teenager. After nearly two decades of experience and success, the bluesy, indie folk singer encourages young, aspiring musicians to focus not only on music but also on their other talents and interests, because “it can help keep your music fresh and real, and your music career less overwhelming.” Today, Sproule continues to write, record and perform music in addition to teaching guitar and songwriting. When did your interest in music begin? Where I grew up, Twin Oaks Community, we had a big industrial kitchen where people took turns making meals. Since the dining hall is separate from the residences, people can really blast music while they cook or clean. In the summer, when the windows are open, you can often hear the music from far away. I like to picture running by those windows as a little kid, hearing all kinds of music filtering out. I sang a lot with my parents and friends—harmonies and rounds, Christmas songs and Solstice songs. We loved that songbook Rise Up Singing. What are the best and most challenging parts about your job? Well, before I had a kid, maybe the best part was sleeping in. Hardest parts would be the uncertainty of income, and driving more, later and longer than is safe. I like being able to change what I’m working on or how much I’m working based on what’s going on in my life. So, it’s been satisfying to shift to more teaching. How do you balance all the different needs of your community? Since I’ve been home more, I’m starting to learn about what makes our Charlottesville community work and what keeps it from working. I work with two local organizations, MIMA and The Front Porch, trying to bring music education to people in town

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who have less access to it. Aside from music, I hope to help make Charlottesville a less racially and economically segregated place. I bring up these issues in conversations, listen to what people say, and put my money and time where my mouth is. What helps you keep on top of life and work obligations? Aside from having a helpful husband, our “bathroom calendar,” a hard copy calendar that hangs in our bathroom, helps remind us about all our commitments, personally and professionally. What advice do you have for parents and their young who are aspiring to help others through their careers? Advice for aspiring musicians: try to establish a few small streams of income, verses relying on just one to support yourself. These could be teaching, performing, a service-oriented job, working in a coffee shop, working with elders (in music or care), graphic design, video work, visual art, or even something in health or mental health services. There is no shame in having varied areas of work. If anything, it can help keep your music fresh and real, and your music career less overwhelming. For parents, consider encouraging your child to have the identity of a person, verses the identity of a musician. If our whole identity is wrapped up in the idea of “being a musician,” we can feel totally lost if we aren’t able to do that. What is one thing your parents did well that you try to incorporate into your parenting? Encouraging me to hang out with and be influenced by other adults. Sylvia and Patrick, parents of five rambunctious children, are a husband and wife team in the Charlottesville area who focus on lifestyle photography, weddings and portraiture. See their work at sylviakiblerphotography.com.

Profile for Ivy Publications

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM February 2019  

Volume 20 Issue 2

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM February 2019  

Volume 20 Issue 2