Contributed by Carina Hernandez
Mondays have now taken on a positive connotation with PAXy’s Wake Up Miami 2018! At the Government Center Metrorail station, different artists will be ringing out a variety of tunes almost every Monday this summer, thanks to the ladies behind PAXy, a non-profit organization geared towards promoting the cultural arts. PAXy aims to put local artists like the Sean Dibble Duo and the Aldo Salvent Quartet, as well as many others, into the spotlight by giving them a chance to perform within the public eye.
Maudie Valero, one of the directors, gave me the opportunity to sit down and listen to her explain the influence behind Wake Up Miami’s fruition, along with some other details regarding the project.
“Being in places like New York or any other big city, you can see that people are constantly exposed to the music and arts in public transportation. We don’t have that here in Miami, so we tried to start it. We’re trying to bring that type of culture into this city, where you’re able to be exposed to new music while just going about your day,” expressed Valero.
New York’s commuter trains have long been home to local artists with a knack for music. PAXy hopes for Miami to adopt that same culture through these performances.
Performances within a public space have to have a certain flair for a passerby to be drawn to it. After all, people aren’t really inside a Metrorail station expecting a music show—they’re there to get to work.
What came to mind when choosing the artists for this event?
“The first year we did this, we only showcased musicians that we knew. After that, a lot of different musicians have been contacting us, so there’s more variety in the shows. We have also observed how people interact with the artists and now we know what people like, and how people better engage with the show. For example, we figured out that people are less willing to interact with a solo artist than with a group of them. After that, we kind of set a rule to not have solo artists on anymore, but then one day there was a musician who was a professor of the New World School of the Arts, and a lot of dance students were there to watch him play. They started dancing and people loved that, so after we’ve tried to add more performance to the show. This year, we will have opera for the first time, along with some visual art. We have been trying to expose the commuters to a different music genre and trying to have them engage with the artists in general, maybe having them grow fond of it along the way,” explained Valero.
Audience interaction is key to an enjoyable performance. Artists aren’t put in the limelight to just be gawked at. They want to spread a message, project an emotion, and send off people with a mental memento of their presentation. But what do Wake Up Miami’s artists hope to project off to others?
How do you think this musical experience will affect people? “The idea is that, on Monday mornings, you don’t feel like going to school or work because you’re just starting the week. Starting the day with some music would bring along a good mood, hopefully for the rest of the day. At the very first event that we had, people were afraid to interact. They were like, ‘What is this?’ Someone came to us and asked us what we were selling. We said that we weren’t selling anything,” told Valero. “That was the very first event. Now, people interact. We had a show where someone from the audience actually played an instrument with the musician on stage. They came to us and thanked us for giving them music. We don’t have the program all year round, but the first year we had it going on for three months, and now we have it on for 6 months. When we started, after 6 months of not being there, people came to us like, “Where were you? We missed you!” Now, people are more comfortable with it and seem to enjoy it more. It’s great.”
The Wynwood Trio gives commuters a pleasurable morning on July 2nd, 2018. Wake up Miami isn’t a recent occurrence—it’s been going on since Autumn 2015. Like any other organization, this one has been growing since the beginning. I wanted to learn more about this development, and what more is expected in the years to come.
How has Wake Up Miami evolved since 2015, and what changes would you like to see in the future? “In the early events, it was mostly music. Since then, we have been incorporating new compositions, new art manifestations, and as I’m telling you we now have dancers. The year before that, we had tango. This year we will have an opera. We always try to include different things, so people can be exposed to multiple talents. People are able to listen to music they think they otherwise won’t even try to listen to. Last year, we had a composer from the University of Miami that had a strange composition and it left people like, “Wow, what’s this?” We’re always doing that. We’re also trying to have more shows per year. We have 20 this year. Next year we will have a new station, which is at the University of Miami. The plan is to have it year-round and in multiple stations. We don’t have the power to do that yet, but we have been growing little by little. Mostly, the idea for the future is being able to hear this type of music in any station, not just Government Center,” described Valero.
Lastly, public transportation makes it into the picture. Why is it important to encourage this mode of travel in Miami? “It’s important to make people rely on public transportation. Wake Up Miami is probably a way to draw more attention to it. In Miami, we don’t have a lot of parking spaces. Cars aren’t too good for the environment either. If we were all to use public transportation, it’d be great for everybody. I want people to be like, ‘This Monday, let me not use my car, go to the Metrorail station to listen to some music, see some performances, and go to work with a smile.’ It’s also great for the artists. They have this different kind of experience where they can interact with the audience in a way they’re not used to when they’re playing on a stage. It’s a great opportunity for them to express themselves during their performance,” Valero said.
With that, we said our goodbyes, and I was left with a stronger desire to watch the artists working with Wake Up Miami perform.
Be ready to replace coffee with some sweet, local melodies at the Government Center Metrorail every Monday at 8:30 am with PAXy.
Government Center Metrorail/Metromover Station
101 NW First Street, Miami, FL 33128
You can visit photos from the concerts or learn more about the artists by clicking the links below 😉
10 Luyano Band
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