SUMMER 2015: The best part of innkeeping is the people you meet and the rare opportunities to meet someone who truly inspires you and touches your soul. These moments are rarer than you would think.
Brunilda Muftaraj and Adrian Sylveen stayed with us for three nights. They live in Hartford near the S.S. Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Church, one of the oldest parishes for Polish immigrants in America. Accomplished, dedicated violinists, they are pursuing their passion and making a living doing it. That they have talent became clear on the very first morning when they began practicing shortly after breakfast. Brunilda played in their room, the music drifting out the open door to the side yard where I heard while cutting flowers. Adrian was in the sunroom off the living room and I listened to his sweet music while I folded clean sheets and towels in the laundry room.
Maestro Adrian in the Artistic Director of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and the Connecticut Lyric Opera. He has performed concerts and recitals in Poland, Switzerland, Germany, the former Soviet Union, and the United States.
Brunilda has performed as soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra of which she is now a concertmaster and has drawn enthusiastic accolades from audiences as well as critical acclaim for her masterful musicianship in Albania, Italy, Greece, France, Morocco, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and in the United States. The New London Day critic referred to her as an “especially fine and beautiful player”.
A highly accomplished power couple indeed but during the three days they were guests at the Manor House we quickly became friends and they told us their stories. Brunilda is an Albanian American and Sylveen is an immigrant from Poland where he graduated with distinction from the Paderewski Music Academy in Poznan, Poland. His high school teacher helped him apply for a scholarship to the Yale University School of Music and he has been living in Connecticut ever since and has been awarded permanent U.S. residence for “Extraordinary Abilities in the Arts”.
The parents of three children who have inherited the family musical genes, each summer they perform and teach at the Greve Opera Academy and Music Festival in Tuscany. Greve is the market town of the Chianti Classico wine zone of Tuscany, Italy, but it was a couple of bottles of very fine San Gimignano wine that we shared around the fire.
Sylveen spoke of the difficult times in Poland, the lack of opportunity, the Cold War politics, and as Brunilda worded it, the long night that becomes the winter.
They spoke of their work and we compared the managing of festivals to innkeeping. The business end of things, the dealing with difficult people whether they be promotors or demanding guests and difficult owners of inns. I sensed that even in following your passion there is still frustration and I told them of my dream to one day be able to write for a living. It wouldn’t have to be on a grand best-selling scale as in a James Patterson, Toni Morrison, or Stephen King sort of way, but a small salary that helps make ends meets and provides you with that moment when you pick up your violin and lose yourself in the music. You work and live for the pleasure of creation, for that moment when you are who you want to be.
Many months later, on this sunny Sunday morning in April we are making breakfast for a house full of Walter Trout fans. Bella Fleck is playing on the laptop in the kitchen and I am sharing some music in the morning with you. Here is the very talented Brunilda Myftaraj with NBS-CVO Magnum Opus:
Never give up on your dreams.