United By Our Passions

At one point or another, we all ask ourselves, “What do I want out of life?” “What makes me happy?” For some of us, our passions become clear early on; others spend years on a quest for answers.

I pondered this as I read the articles in these pages. Our best stories tend to be about passionate people—those who love what they’re doing and can’t help but share that joy with others. This issue is no exception.

“At some point in life, you'll have a chance to do something(s) you love to do,” says Channy Lyons, offering advice to her 20-year-old self in this issue’s Take 10 feature. “Watch for it. Work hard. Keep learning. Be ready for it. Remember what Goethe said: ‘At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.’”

In this issue, Lyons shares her love for the women artists featured in Skirting Convention: Illinois Women Artists 1840 to 1940, an exhibit that will hit Lakeview Museum this fall in conjunction with a two-day conference at Bradley University.

In our extended conversation with local musician and composer Paul Adams, we asked about his philosophy as an artist. “To grow and learn,” he answered. “To find and express your truth…An artist is someone who creates uniquely, honestly, and expresses his spirit. Whatever you do—flipping burgers, laying bricks—can be treated as art.”

Elsewhere, it’s difficult not to be inspired by Dusan Katic’s passion for baking bread, which came out of nowhere and quickly grew to consume him. “I had no idea I was going to fall in love with it,” he explained. “But toward the end [of my time in France], I wanted to run away and start baking.” And that’s just what he did, following his passion all the way back to central Illinois.

And then there is Jason Yarcho, conductor and music director of Wicked, the hit Broadway musical that makes its way to the Peoria Civic Center in October. (You have your tickets, right?) Yarcho grew up in nearby Lincoln, where his role in a high school rendition of Little Shop of Horrors helped to catalyze a lifelong love for music and theater. “Since then,” he explained, “I did every single show I could possibly get my hands on.”

So there you have it: four people from different walks of life, united by their deep-seated passions for their work. In today’s unsettled world, our passions can be a unique source of inner peace, helping to answer those eternal questions: “What do I want out of life?” “What makes me happy?” a&s