This week, the “little orchestra” Pink Martini performed twice in Homer. They took the stage Monday afternoon during a student assembly at Homer High School; then they filled the high school’s 500 seats a second time Monday night with an audience of all ages. Pink Martini’s vocalist Storm Large says one of the most thrilling parts of the trip was the chance to advise Homer’s youth. KBBI’s Quinton Chandler has more.
Pink Martini sold out Mariner Theater Monday night. People crowded into the venue to hear the band’s eclectic mix of world music from days past. The band plays music with multiple origins, rhythms, and languages. After their performance the band signed autographs in the high school’s commons and they were showered in praise. The community thanked them for taking the time to come to Homer. There was a sense of disbelief a band like Pink Martini that can have its pick of venues would take the time to come to a town with an estimated population around 5,000.
“We never turn up our nose or say, ‘this place is too small why would we come to this little tiny place.’ The band is independent so if we’re curious about a place we’ll try to go,” says Large.
Pink Martini’s lead singer Storm Large says the band’s performances are booked years in advance. But, if time allows, when they visit a city like Anchorage they’ll reach out to other communities to see if they’d be interested in a show.
“Really it’s just kind of like, ‘wow we’ve never been to Homer. Oh, can we go to a school and that will be great. We can talk to the kids and we could incorporate some of the kids into playing the concert,’” explains Large.
Two Homer High School students, Miles Catlin and Carly McClean were given the chance to take center stage alongside Large. She says she had similar experiences with professional artists in her teen years and it was “incredibly validating.”
“It’s not like this holier than thou pure reason. ‘We came here to give to people and you may touch my garment. Okay that’s enough.’ We get a lot out of it too because it’s a lot of fun and it’s a beautiful town. My God it’s gorgeous,” Large says. “We all remember what it’s like to be that kind of dorky kid who wants to express themselves but doesn’t know how to get from A to B. It’s so fun to be on the other side of that and say you don’t have to be this. You don’t have to be Taylor Swift. You don’t have to be Queens of the Stone Age. You don’t have to be Dave Grohl. You don’t have to be Rick Rubin.”
Large wants aspiring musicians to know they shouldn’t let anyone define their art or their future career. She has had a lot of successes: standing ovations in Royal Albert Hall, as well as Carnegie Hall and she’s written a book. But, the singer says she doesn’t know an actual measure of success.
“One thing I’ve never felt is that I’ve ever made it. I think that’s such a poisonous idea that you have to get to a place and then you have made it,” says Large. “If you can create joy with something that you do yourself don’t let anybody tell you how you’re supposed to do it.”
Pink Martini was booked by Homer Council on the Arts. After the band left Homer it performed in Kodiak. They're also scheduled to appear in Anchorage and Juneau.