From the age of four, Alisa Amador ’18 has been singing and performing with her family. Her parents wrote and sang bilingual music for English and Spanish learners, and their CDs are still widely used today. In this setting, young Amador and her sister started singing backup in their parents’ band. After many years of making music as a family, eleven-year-old Amador broke away, leaving the CDs behind in order to sing more “adult” songs.
Throughout high school, Amador continued to sing and started performing her own songs at open-microphone nights. Through these informal settings, she received helpful feedback and grew as a performer. All this growth culminated her senior year of high school, in the form of a spring senior thesis project. Amador wanted to bring people together through art and affect a greater community, and decided her project would be to perform house concerts for different causes. Through this project, she developed a set and performance persona while also accumulating many hours of experience. In addition, she raised thousands of dollars through the performance medium of fund-raising house parties. She continued these concerts into the summer after high school at various venues all over New England.
Upon her arrival at Bates, Amador quickly set herself apart during both the First-Year Talent Show and student Village Club Series performances. Amador believes this set the tone for her career at Bates, stating modest surprise that “people started to talk about me, apparently” after these concerts. The following year, she continued to perform in various venues here at Bates with the Crosstones a cappella group and at open mic nights in the Ronj.
This past summer, Amador was up to even more singing and performing, traveling around New England as a solo concert act. These concerts had a different tone to them than her previous house concerts because “almost all of the concerts were not house concerts, and I missed that. I missed the informal, really warm setting.” Despite that absence, Amador was able to mature as a performer and manager. She oversaw the finances, ran her own concerts and put herself out there as a performer. For example, she communicated with venues about costs and whether she needed to charge entry fees to offset the cost of playing at the venue, and managed to at least break even financially for each concert. This summer provided Amador with many opportunities to manage her career and dive into responsibilities present in the professional world.
One highlight of her summer was the surprise opportunity to jam with Willy Mason and Nina Violet under the stars and around a crackling fire while staying at Martha’s Vineyard. To a friend, Amador mentioned her disappointment that she wasn’t going to play on the island. This friend happened to know Willy Mason’s mother, and organized for Amador to play at the Masons’ music festival and meet both Willy Mason and Nina Violet. This wonderful coincidence is an example of the connections and chance opportunities Amador had while exploring and performing this past summer.
Another story describes the unique experience Amador had while performing on the street in Portland, Maine this summer.
Amador recalls, “I played, I busked on the street in Portland, ME the first Friday of August for the art walk, and it was funny to see the people walking by and who decided to stop. One old man would walk by and slow down, then keep walking, then he would come back and I would smile at him. One time he walked by and leaned up against a post, and he started taking pictures, just a couple of pictures, and then he walked away. Then an hour or less later he came back and he had printed these photographs — like he had gone to a photo-printer and printed these photographs — and handed one to me and one to Caitlin Keady and just smiled and walked away without a word.”
This sweet anecdote was one of her last performances of the summer and Amador remembers it fondly. After years of rehearsals, performances, and experiments, she continues to grow and experience new opportunities while exploring music and herself. If you would like to see her in concert, Amador will be performing with the Crosstones and in upcoming open mic nights around campus!