2011 - TW Interview
Kimberly Syphrett: Your 'Coffee shop-Crêperie ' gave birth to a few events in New Jersey. One of them was the "NJ Independent Music Festival" which took place in the Princeton area. Today, you live in Arizona and working on a new project "Playing For Unity In Diversity," can you tell us more about your festival? That seems like a lot of work to do alone.
Annick Elzière: Thanks for asking, Kim. I love music and I love bringing people together so I combine it all into one. Yes, it's a lot of work alone but I don't mind it because that's my passion. I would love to find some great people to work with me but I haven't found anyone who doesn't mind working for free for hours with the great desire to promote unity in diversity and support independent performers. The name of "Playing For Unity In Diversity" speaks for itself. I like it.
The events that I produce are not about musicians nor about a crowd, it's all about UNITY, DIVERSITY & THE ARTS. I am trying to raise the vibration and watch people enjoy themselves in a good way. Promoting oneness through music, dance and the arts makes so much sense to me, and I leave it at that. At the same time, I really enjoy supporting independent Artists. The more different they are the better to me.
There is a Baha'i quote that says "music is a ladder to the soul." Harmonies are so beautiful. Listening to beautiful melodies is a wonderful way to escape from all troubles. Watching musicians and people having a good time is what I call life. Music soothes our soul and refreshes our spirit.
Kimberly Syphrett: I relate to your vision and desire to be part of change. Are you a musician?
Annick Elzière: Yes, I always wanted to be a musician because all of them seem to enjoy their own little world but no, I am not one of them because I have no voice, no patience when it comes to learning a musical instrument. I cannot dance and cannot paint, either. My passion is about planning, organizing, creating events and solving problems. I love bringing them all under one roof.
Many people say to musicians "you' re lucky to be so talented" but what most people don't understand is that all of us are talented in our ways and talent doesn't come easy. It takes hours of practice and doing. It's all about what we really love doing. I can't do what musicians do because I have no patience when it comes to repetition. We all need to embrace our differences. For example, your research and writing are excellent because that's your passion. You love doing it. I could not do it. And, yes, I would love walking under the stars while playing the violin but I wasn't born to do that and I have to accept it.
Kimberly Syphrett: I agree. We all need to find our thing. Will your event be a 1-day festival, and what type of music will you bring to Old Tucson? It's very nice that you are able to use the Old Tucson as a venue.
Annick Elzière: Yes, I am very proud to be able to use the Old Tucson as a venue. I have no problem imagining and producing my own festival inside of the Saloon, there. I feel very lucky. I am surprised they accepted to work with me but love the idea. I am excited about it. When it comes to the program, I am very flexible. It's going to be a one day festival. I want to create memories for people.
Kimberly Syphrett: It all sounds lovely. I love your positive way of thinking. We need more events like yours. Will you plan more festivals in the future? What about sponsorships?
Annick Elzière: I love your questions. Thank you. Sponsorships are not easy to find and once we get them they love to control the outcome of the program so, I stay away from anything that is commercial. It's about Peace through the Arts, not about selling products.
Do I want to create more festivals? That's all I want to do, once I have the funds for them. I will never stop dreaming big and one day, I will build my own venue but only God knows when. I would love to produce 7-10 day free festivals for all ages and all year long and I will need a lot of help. It will happen.
Kimberly Syphrett: Is there any slogan, or a catchphrase that will draw the audience? Do you have one, already?
Annick Elzière: Actually, I do. I was thinking of using “Real People for a Real World” or maybe "A Festival created by People for People" but "Playing For Unity In Diversity" is my catchphrase, no? I think it works. I'm not into slogans because they it's very commercial like and whatever I do will not be about profit. Maybe one day someone will understand me but for now I believe that it's about learning how to enjoy ourselves meaning being happy people. I want to keep it real and simple.
Kimberly Syphrett: What about “One Woman, One World, One Vision: Playing For Unity In Diversity”?
Annick Elzière: I love it, Kim. Even though that's an excellent catchphrase, it makes me feel very uncomfortable because what I do is not about me. I must keep the name of "Playing For Unity In Diversity," and I like it.
Kimberly Syphrett: It takes a lot of courage to be you and create out of nothing. How did everything get started or how did you discover your passion?
Annick Elzière: I appreciate your kind words. It's true that it's not easy to follow your mind and heart but I always did and that's why I am one of those 'black sheeps,' and it's fun to be you and nothing else. Maybe more people should try it? (smiling)
How did I get into what I enjoy doing? It happened, meaning it was meant to happen. One evening, at 'Cafe Annick' a musician came to thank me for inviting them to perform at my place and said "Musicians need more people like you because without you we cannot perform." He touched my heart and made me realize that I was as important as they are and we need to work together as one. I think that's what inspired me to continue working with musicians.
I ended up having more musicians coming to my cafe and then I created the NJ Independent Music Festival that took place on a farm near Princeton, NJ. Before working for myself, I was working in the in-house photo-lab department of Bristol-Myers Squibb who ended up laying off nearly 2000 employees and of course, I was probably the first one to go. It was a true blessing because that is when I decided that never again I would work for the corporate world and must only do what I really enjoy doing.
Kimberly Syphrett: Thanks for sharing all of this, Annick. I am to be around for the festival. I am sure that a lot of people will enjoy it. I agree with you that it's time to UNITE and your festivals are a great way to bring people together through the Arts. Memories are made in the moment.
Annick Elzière: Your support and time are very much appreciated, Kim. And, your work on "Conflict Resolution" is very impressive and very important, as well. Peace remains our goal.
Kimberly Syphrett: Thanks, Annick
Kimberly Renée Syphrett (L)
(11/7/1970 - 7/6/2020)
Lisa Janti (R)
(7/5/1933 - 3/7/2023)
Because of your help, I am stronger. I miss you... Annick
(Photo: 2010 - Saguaro National Park, Tucson, AZ)
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