Meet The Fellows...
photos: Ryan and Marenje Marimba member, Maren Padovan-Hickman (Left). Marenje Marimba photo by Patchwork Photos (center).
Stories of Jubilation: Ryan Anderson
"I firmly believe that people learn best by DOING," says Ryan. "Engaging the physical, mental, and emotional bodies is paramount for education as a whole."
In 2008, as part of a community outreach effort of the Downtown Greens Community Garden, Ryan founded a marimba ensemble for local youth. He called it Marenje Marimba ("marenje" means "sacred wilderness" in Shona), and it quickly blossomed into an eight-piece band that blends pan-African songs and rhythms, traditional Zimbabwean marimba/mbira songs, original compositions, and Brazilian drumming. A regular feature of Fredericksburg's First Fridays Art Walks, Marenje Marimba's mission is to spread joy and positivity through music, and create community celebrations filled with hope.
"I want to entice people's interest with mesmerizing examples that conjure up curiosities," says Ryan. Years before, as a student of Jan Maraire in Maui, his own curiosity lead him, not only to play marimbas with her, but also to build them. "She taught me how to build them by hand, with no textbook or video. It was the real deal," says Ryan. Recently, he taught the Marenje Marimba musicians how to make the acoustic, wooden instruments, and repair them as well. "Now they have the whole package," he says. "They are transforming the neighborhood."
Easygoing and optimistic, Ryan divides his time between Maui (teaching at the Haleakala Waldorf School) and Fredericksburg. "I want to reach people who never dreamed of singing, playing, or performing, and give them a deep musical experience," says Ryan. "By singing, moving, clapping, dancing, and playing together, people create an authentic connection. This collective experience can change the world."
Creating the 3 C's: Community, Culture, and Care
Ryan is Reading:
The Hive : the Story of the Honeybee and Us by Bee Wilson
Ryan is Listening to:
Spirit of the Forest by Baka Beyond
Ryan is Watching:
"Small communities come together to provide for each other and make the world a better place."