March 2014

Page 31

Mikaela Davis pretty faces? I personally think women need to stick together.” Michelle Sestito presents a positive report; her experiences have allowed her to cherish the positives of being a woman in the industry, though all the while, she balances a full-time job outside of music and raising a family. Amanda Ashley rarely encounters issues related to sexism, but admits that as a businesswoman, she fights to be taken seriously. Lisa Canarvis shares a similar experience: “Sometimes people who work in the scene and handle the business overlook you,” she says. “You could be in a group with three or four guys and they want to talk to ‘the guy’ in the band or they just assume it’s not you so they look and talk to everyone else. That can be annoying, but more often, I think it’s because a lot of women may look shy or appear standoffish and that can be interpreted as disinterested or detached.” The performance aspect of being a musician, the intimate connection with the audience, for many, is the opportunity to shine, to dismiss all conflicts or ill-will against confidence. “I love to perform,” shares Amanda Peers. “It’s where I get to let loose and really express myself. A lot of people who see me for the first time are surprised when I get onstage. I’m normally a quiet and composed person, but when I walk on that stage I really come out of my shell.” Rochester, home to the International Jazz Festival, is often alluded to as a city accepting and embracing of all arts. The gracious panelists agree, but not without revealing the drawbacks of being a local musician. Michelle Sestito explains that the majority of challenges rest in the competition with cover bands, and the lack of awareness.

Teagan Ward “We just got back from performing a few shows down south and I caught myself describing the Rochester music scene to a local performer with a great sense of pride,” says Teagan Ward. “I guess I had never really thought about it, but Rochester has been good to us, and continues to be. There is a great amount of opportunity here that stems from the history that this city holds and I am proud to say that this is where my musical beginnings are.” For aspiring musicians craving words of wisdom from veteran performers, Cara Morgan, who also works as a mental health therapist at Rochester General Hospital advises, “to take chances because you never know what could come out of it! Don’t let failure stop you from continuing to try.” Deborah Magone has enjoyed a long career and remarkable success all over the world. While she is content with her career as an artist, she shares: “I’d be even more content if everyone remembered to support and fight for independent live music, musicians and music programs in schools across America. It’s so important to the health and well-being of absolutely everyone.” :: march 2014