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Itzhak Perlman and Savannah Brady

Testing: Can You Hear Me?

| Sande Caplin |







We all have to make a decision at some point what career path we want to take. Sure, it takes some people longer to figure it out than others, but I happen to have known since I was a toddler. Now I discover my chosen profession is frowned upon by some people and may even cause me legal problems.

For those who don’t already know, I want to be a professional musician and I have spent most of my life working toward that goal. My parents have taken me to violin, guitar, and vocal lessons for years. I’ve played at festivals, earned trophies, scholarship money, and was a member of Jimi Gee’s Jr. All-Stars. Back in January, I auditioned to play with The Sun-Coast Super Strings and had the honor of performing under the direction of Itzhak Perlman here in Sarasota. I also front my own band where I play classic rock and originals. You see, everything seemed to be going well for me. Every performance opportunity that came along was another step in the right direction. There was no stopping me! At least that’s what I thought!

Sarasota Downtown Main StreetRecently a new sound ordinance was adopted that may just stop me and all the other musicians from playing outside for audiences. I understand having a limit on sound because it can affect people, but the limit set is WAY too low! I can’t even play my acoustic violin without breaking the law. In fact, the average speaking voice is louder than the decibel level set in Sarasota County.

Being so strongly opposed to the sound ordinance caused me to attend my first joint City/County Commission meeting today. Many people spoke in favor of live music. One gentleman, Anthony LeClerc informed the commissioners that he is a sound man and that every person who had spoken before him had broken the sound ordinance as soon as they began to speak into the microphone. I was amazed because most people were barely audible from where I was sitting. Figuring the commission wouldn’t want their time wasted by a person my age, I chose to just sit and listen. However, I would like to know why they excluded all sporting events and city/county sponsored events from the decibel limit law. It’s just my opinion, but a stadium full of screaming sports fans is more annoying than a live band.

You may be wondering since I’m a teenager and just a kid why I’m even worrying about it. After all, I don’t have a mortgage to pay or a family to support. My musician friends who play music as a full time job are one reason I care. They do rely on the money. I’ve noticed when the audience can’t hear the music, they do not tip and that cuts into the income for the musicians.
My future is another reason I care. Music is my life! I can’t imagine a day without music whether I’m playing or listening. All I know is that it makes me happy and is as important to me as the air I breathe. Obviously, I love going to hear my friends play live music! I’ve even been fortunate enough to be asked to join some of them onstage from time to time. Seeing them perform live is an educational experience that I can’t possibly learn in a music lesson. My lessons are where I learn technique and theory. Watching and observing the local musicians is something I need!  

The meeting left me more confused than ever wondering if Sarasota County truly supports the arts. One minute it’s taking pride in having the Perlman Winter Residency here. Then, pianos are allowed on street corners downtown for impromptu music performances by anyone. Now, we are told we can play music, but we can’t let anyone hear us. I just don’t understand. This is the community where I’ve grown up and received all my training as a musician. Does Sarasota supports the arts or does it crush dreams?

Sarasota Youth OrchestraEven though I will NEVER give up on my musical dream, I’m afraid that some kids won’t get the opportunities that I’ve had because of this sound ordinance. Of course they could choose to change their career path to a more socially accepted job. But who really wants to give up on their dreams? Why should musicians have to suffer because some people who probably don’t even live here full time want to silence us?

Obviously, I feel as if a huge barricade has been placed right in the middle of my career path. I’m not sure how this problem will be resolved, but I will continue to be a law abiding citizen, playing music even if no one can hear me!

Savannah Brady’s Bio:
15 years old, Savannah has studied violin for ten years and guitar for three years. Her violin teacher is Cynthia Wiley, guitar teacher is Jami Gee, and vocal coach is Kodi Sells. She has attended several Suzuki Violin workshops and Sarasota Youth Orchestra’s Summer with the Symphony programs. Savannah enjoys playing music and tries to take advantage of every opportunity to perform. She has played violin with the North Port Symphony Orchestra, performed in Ladies Sing the Blues, and is a former member of the Jimi Gee Jr. All-Stars. She currently fronts The Savannah Brady Band where she plays guitar and sings. Savannah’s most recent accomplishment was earning a fourth gold cup for receiving superior scores at the district festival through the Florida Federation of Music Clubs. You can find Savannah playing and singing around the community at various venues.

Through The Eyes of Savannah Brady

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