The Reboot: 2020 inspired the Rochester musician to take a nomadic journey
The first thing you notice when you walk into Avis Reese’s house is his grand piano.
The Steinway dominates the dining room. She’s playing a song she wrote a few years ago for a friend who was going through a rough time. This is called the “loss of meaning”.
2020 brought a loss to Reese’s own life; several members of his family died during the pandemic.
It has changed her perspective and she wants to break some old habits. She’s looking for adventure now.
“I kind of felt like stepping into this space where I feel too comfortable,” she said, “and I don’t take risks and I don’t feel like I’m growing personally. “
Reese plays the keyboard for Danielle Ponder & the Tomorrow People.
She has nothing against Rochester. It has been her home for 34 years, but she wants to know what will happen if she is forced to fend for herself in a new place.
She said the pandemic taught her the risk was worth it because anything can change at any time.
“We’ve had music taken out for a whole year,” she explained. “We had a bunch of shows planned and these got pulled and life was aimless and hopeless in the middle of that and so this year it’s all about having experiences, you know? Nothing is guaranteed, so why say it for another 10 years? Do it now. “
Reese plotted a 10 month trip.
She will be spending August in Washington, DC, then moving to a different city each month. Her provisional itinerary takes her from Philadelphia to Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and finally Minneapolis.
“I really wanted to reach a lot of musical cities,” she said. “Instead of taking a one-year lease in Los Angeles, why not just book a bunch of Airbnbs, that’s the same amount I would pay in rent, and experiment with different cities to see which one I might like. “
She has sold her house and is about to pack her Dodge SUV with huge containers for her clothes and three keyboards strapped to the top of the vehicle. A friend will store the Steinway until Reese finds his new home. She leaves Rochester on July 30.
Reese said she would support herself with music concerts along the way. She’s already booked for some weddings in Washington and plans to make a quick stop in Rochester every now and then to play with Ponder.
Beyond that, she agrees not to have an agenda.
“It’s just nice to do something a little bit riskier and not really have a plan and not really know how it’s going to go,” she said. “But I just feel inside that it’s going to be okay.”
For Reese, the journey isn’t about finding each other. She already knows who she is. But when she lost a few family members to COVID-19 and two young members of the group in the years leading up to the pandemic, it made her re-evaluate her own life and realize that something was missing.
“I really think these losses are huge factors for me because I don’t want my story to end in a trivial way,” she said. “I want to add some remarkable things to my story, and if I end up going there is a whole list of things people can say, ‘She did that. She lived it and she loved it. . ‘”