Meet Andrew Whitaker
One of the newest additions to the Harrison Center is Andrew Whitaker, who is here as part of a 10 week songwriting residency. Andrew will be composing music about place, specifically Indianapolis, and is working to really capture not only the current culture of our city, but the way we as an organization, and as a community, are eager to see it improve. Andrew's music is to be played in the City Gallery as another way to embody the central theme of location and local culture within it.
Despite being trained in piano, Andrew's love for music stems from many different traditions, including things like folk, bluegrass, and classical. Andrew has spent most of his life as a church musician, studying Piano Performance at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and then going on to study Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary. Andrew spent several years as a Minister for a church in Milwaukee, and is well accustomed to working with a variety of intergenerational musicians.
Andrew explains that his drive for becoming involved in and celebrating his community comes from moving around when he was younger. Having grown up on the southside of Indy, he found himself eager to attend school in Chicago as a way to experience "real culture". However, he soon realized that the culture in Chicago didn't quite have the sustenance he was looking for, and that he, in many ways, was somewhat of a "leech" in the community; drawing from the culture but not contributing to it. He felt as if he didn't quite know the city the way he did Indianapolis, and believes that knowing stories of a place is an important part of making it personal, especially for younger generations. Contributing to a community's culture, he argues, is centered in truly becoming part of it.
In order to really get a feel for the work being done at the Harrison Center, when Andrew is not working in the Sound Cave, he spends a good amount of time in the City Gallery listening to and participating in the collaborative discussion being held. As the Harrison Center moves forward, there is an emphasis being placed on accessibility, and Andrew for one, believes that this accessibility is key to connecting the neighborhood and community. He mentioned that "you can get lost without knowing your neighbors", and over the course of his residency hopes to become familiar with all the ins and outs of the community, to grow in his songwriting, and to develop his understanding of the "stories that make up the fabric of urban Indy"