We had the good fortune of connecting with Alecia Lawyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alecia, how do you think about risk?
Ironically, risk taking can only be done in a place of vulnerability. If it came from strength, there would be no space for real possibilities beyond what you can see. It helps to focus on the flip side of “what do you have to lose?” Instead, there is great power in “what are the possibilities and connections?” My drug is connection. I see it, seek it, profess it, share it, and circle back again to observe it. When you have a purpose and a vision, risk turns into a logical step instead of a dreaded barrier. Founding ROCO came out of a deep love for people, musicians, for my church that was being renovated and would be a perfect place to perform, and for this amazing city of Houston. The culmination of all of these 16 years of raising a ton of money to record our live performances and experimenting with livestreaming years before covid is that I have been able to actually physically weave our music through the landscape of Houston. Launching the ROCO on Buffalo Bayou project allows people to use QR codes specifically selected for 40 stops along the trails that go to pieces of music on our website for free listening. Access is what it is all about and taking all of the risks of money, live performance, and experimentation, has led to ROCO becoming the soundtrack for Houston!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
ROCO is all about personal relationships and connections. Music is simply a language that we use to communicate. I founded ROCO in 2005 as a dynamic and innovative professional music ensemble that flexes from 1 to 40 players from all over the US and Canada, with guest artists from around the world. We perform in dozens of venues, and have been livestreaming for seven years already, so this digital space is normal for us. Our debut album, Visions Take Flight, was recognized for a GRAMMY® Award for Producer of the Year, Blanton Alspaugh. We are recognized for the diversity in our programming as reflected in a recent study from the Institute for Composer Diversity that found last season that ROCO was the number one ensemble in the US for performing the works of women and number two for the works of composers of color. Additionally, ROCO has the third-highest number of world premiere commissions in the United States at over 100 pieces from living composers. We embrace technology, with free worldwide concert livestreams and real-time artist commentary via a smartphone app, as well as free, on-demand recordings of past concerts via popular music streaming services. We develop multi-generational audience through our ROCOrooters program for kids 10 and under during and after concerts for parents to have a date nithgt and send DVDs to nursing homes and hospitals to bring music to those immobile communities, ROCO has been called an “arts disrupter” and a “trailblazer”. Our mission? To Shape the Future of Classical Music by Energizing, Modernizing, and Personalizing the Concert Experience.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well…I would take them by Segway or bike down the miles of trails of the Buffalo Bayou because ROCO just launched our ROCO on Buffalo Bayou project: https://roco.org/2020/09/14/roco-on-buffalo-bayou/ I have programmed the trails with 40 QR codes of music that correspond to the landmarks and public art along the Buffalo Bayou! For food: Kiran’s; Tony’s; Ouisies Table; Cafe Annie; St. Arnold’s Brewery; Jinya Ramen; 60 Vines; Dairy Maids For places to go: Hermann Park and the Japanese Garden; HMNS; Holocaust Museum Houston; Art Car Museum; Chinatown; Space Center; Menil and MFAH (NEW BUILDING SOON!) Go to Specs and get some wine and do some tastings while there and then stay in and play 42/dominos on the porch and get great delivery from the insane amount of food places in town.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Cathy Barr, my original oboe teacher who would not let me stop playing oboe and made me go to SMU! My parents for their unwavering support and crazy, witty, incredibly intelligent personalities! My husband, Larry, for enthusiasm and joy; our sons, Jacob and Zachary, who get a kick out of wild things I try with ROCO My church, St. John the Divine, for their space that renovated and sparked this idea to start ROCO. Terri Golas, for her guidance and strategy and ideas. Amy GIbbs, yin to my yang in this business AND! HOUSTON and its amazing supporters and patrons!
Other: Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/rocoreplay
Blueprint Film Co. (most others) Lynn Lane (Red dress head shot)