A few minutes before my very first show performing as part of Talisman, our group’s director then, Maria Doerr, asked us to close our eyes with palms outstretched, and to imagine the show from start to finish, envisioning every song and dance and emotion and story we wanted to convey from the bottom of our hearts and lungs.
Imagine the audience in rapt attention to every word we sang, never mind the language barrier – imagine the music bridging that gap and creating a connection between us and them. And while our eyes were closed, she placed a small charm in each of our hands in the shape of Talisman’s sun, and wished us well before we got in our places and began our first show.
So naturally, me being me, I would lose the necklace less than two weeks later after a night out ice skating (and I didn’t even know how to skate).
As small as it was and as short a time as I had it with me, I was heartbroken by the loss of that charm. I had just joined this group less than three months prior, and yet I already knew just how deep an impact it had made in my experience at Stanford. I looked forward to every rehearsal in Harmony House, every new song we learned and relearned until it became muscle memory. Every smile and face and voice that soon consumed my every moment (for better or for worse). Losing the sun was akin to losing a small but important part of my identity in Talisman.
As small as it was and as short a time as I had it with me, I was heartbroken by the loss of that charm.
I learned to move on. This past December, I took to the stage with a necklace with a character in Baybayin, a nearly extinct written form of Tagalog; it was ᜃ (ka), or connection. In May, I wore a kukui nut lei I received from Hālau Ka Wai O Punahou over our Spring Tour in Hawai’i. I’d found new necklaces in the coming months that meant something special to me, but the sun still spoke to me.
As luck would have it, when I came to CESTA this summer, they had a 3D printer for the interns’ use, and though I had no idea how to work one, I made it a mission to make myself a new charm. A bit of tinkering with Tinkercad allowed me to model my design after the original clay charms, with some minor changes to better accommodate the printer in the office (a MakerBot Replicator 2). And after a quick print, a few dabs of metallic paint, and a pack of necklace cords ordered with Prime, the charm was complete.
I made a few more for good measure for the new members who’d surely be coming into the group in the next few months (and I hope this means you, Class of 2022!).
There’s a tactile nature to the talisman our group has, and that the sun grounds its meaning in life, strength, and energy makes it a wholly appropriate symbol for a group that seeks to share stories through song. This isn’t the first logo that Talisman’s ever had (a quick glance through Talisman’s history unfortunately uncovers some… interesting designs), but I certainly hope it stands the test of time.
Until next time,