“Your art matters. It’s what got me here.”
It’s no secret that One Tree Hill is one of my favorite television shows. In addition to its storyline, the show introduced its audience to a handful of talented musicians throughout its run. Two of those musicians, Kate Voegele (Mia Catalano) and Tyler Hilton (Chris Keller) have been touring the world together, and lucky for me, they recently made a stop in Columbus, Ohio.
Funny enough, I actually discovered Kate Voegele’s music back in 2008, when I found one of her live covers of the song “Hallelujah.” In middle school and high school, I put a lot of my passion into creating music, from performing in open mic nights and school talent shows to writing my own songs (the inner writer in me trying to find its way out). I found an understanding in music; alongside books, it quickly became one of my favorite forms of art. I think we’ve all experienced the sense of understanding music offers; when you hear the right song at the right time, the one with the lyrics that say everything you’re feeling in that moment that you couldn’t put into words, and suddenly you don’t feel so alone in the world.
When I found Kate’s arrangement of “Hallelujah,” I decided to perform it for one of my voice recitals. Fast-forward to many years later, when I discovered One Tree Hill on Netflix, and the character of Mia popped up on my screen. I’m grateful that show introduced me to even more of Kate’s music.
So, when Kate and Tyler announced they were playing a show in Columbus, I nearly fell out of my seat. When I hesitated, being frugal with my money, my mom jumped in and convinced me that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn’t miss. So, my friend Molly and I decided to hop in the car and make our way to Columbus for the show.
I had a feeling the concert would be fairly low key, since it was scheduled in a smaller venue. There were about 30 people at the meet and greet, where we had the opportunity to chat with Kate and Tyler, take pictures, and have some things signed. Of course, the moment I walked up to them, I was suddenly flustered and forgot everything I wanted to say to them; I even forgot to ask for an autograph and had to jump back in line. Fortunately, they were both unbelievably gracious and kind to us.
The performance itself brought in a fully-packed room of around 100 people. Our meet-and-greet passes came with early entry, so we ended up front-row center. We couldn’t have asked for a better spot.
Standing in that venue, listening to acoustic performances of some of my favorite songs, reminded me why I love music. Music is a form of writing, and it’s a form of poetry. It offers each listener something unique, something only they can take from that piece of art. But even with our differing perspectives and perceptions of that art, it brings us together. We all stand in one room, singing along to the same chords, belting out the same lyrics, and dancing to the same beat, but we can all take away something different from the same song.
Art brings us in and allows us to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. And whether that art is in a painting, a drawing, a poem, a story, or a song, that art matters. It creates a sense of hope and belonging for all of us.
Find your own art and create, because whatever form it’s in, your art matters.