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(Left to Right) Pablo Garcia Beltran, Hiroya Tsukamoto, Branden Denchfield, Anton Stalchenko, Alona Hapey, Dee Sangi, Delight Dzansi, Jason Denny, Michelle Salah, Jason Acevedo, Rebecca Razavi

On October 14, nine Hillman students gathered for a solo concert by Hiroya Tsukamoto, renowned composer and talented guitarist, held at the Sugarloaf Congregation of Unitarian Universalists. Tsukamoto is an entrepreneur of a different breed–a solo artist who makes his living sharing his music and his love of both Japanese and American musical traditions. Besides running his own business as a musician, he also exhibits the creativity and technical innovation that sets entrepreneurs apart. He is also living his own passion and has a talent for connecting with his audience in deep and revealing ways.

In addition to experiencing a true entrepreneur “at work,” the Hillman students found their own connections and insights during this 2-hour, starting with the journey to the small yurt in the woods of Germantown.  Hillman scholar Branden Denchfield explained that “many classmates had a difficult time finding the event, as it was “in the middle of nowhere,” but not me. It turns out that I have a fishing spot a quarter mile away, so I have been there around more times than I can count.”

Dee Sangi related especially to a song Tsukamoto wrote about fire and fireworks reflecting his time in Japan, noting that it “caused me to miss my childhood back in my country.” Michelle Salah identified in another way, as a guitarist and singer, noting that “he plucked the strings and changed chords with such ease and effortlessness, creating music right in front of our eyes by pressing on a lever with his foot.”

The Hillman scholars were also reminded of the importance of finding peace and even bliss in the midst of a very busy college life. Michelle summed it up beautifully, “After attending this event I realized how important it is to nourish your soul. As a college student involved in so many activities, it is sometimes hard to find time to relax and enjoy life. While sitting in the yurt listening to Hiro play I realized that I was completely content, and peaceful.”  Likewise, Pablo Garcia Beltran “came to remember how important it is to simply not think every now and then. Listening to Hiroya I could feel how I slowly drifted away from all the mental noise, relaxed the mind, and simply stopped thinking about the many worries I have.  From now on I will make a point of letting myself disconnect for a bit every week and calm my mind; I need to. As a Computer Engineering major, a nice analogy comes to mind, every now and then when your computer is running slow and burdened, clear the RAM memory and reset.” Delight Dzansi agreed as well, pointing out that the music helped her calm down. She concluded, “To be honest I really didn’t think I was going to like the event, especially after driving down some scary road to get to the destination but I’m really glad I went.”

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