Right Brain: Local musician plays Winter Living Room Concert Series in Frisco | SummitDaily.com

Right Brain: Local musician plays Winter Living Room Concert Series in Frisco

Local singer/songwriter Zachary Schmidt will be first up for Next Page Books & Nosh's Winter Living Room Concert Series on Wednesday, Nov. 25 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Frisco. His brother, Rob Schmidt, and bass player Steve May will be joining him. In 2012, Schmidt spent a year in the capital city of Belfast in Northern Ireland doing volunteer reconciliation work — building social bridges among different ethnic cultures. His work included the creation of resources, both in film and in print, to inspire conversation and playing music or giving presentations at colleges schools, and a few churches. After meeting his now-wife in Belfast, he was married in September and will be returning to the area this December.

Summit Daily News: Tell me a little about your work in Northern Ireland in 2012.

Zachary Schmidt: I was in Belfast for a year as a volunteer doing reconciliation work with a program at Edgehill College. I have been to Croatia a number of times and Bosnia as well in the same capacity. The work is essentially community building — specifically building bridges between ethnic, religious, cultural divides that tend to de-humanize the other. I also did some work with the migrant community there in Belfast, which has grown significantly in the last 10 years. I was able to participate in the making of a couple of short films. I composed the music for the films, as well as did interviews, editing, etc.

SDN: Why do you feel like this is important?

ZS: I think the work is hugely important. There has been a lot done in Belfast and it has worked. If there is a model for the world to look at of a society that has had deep divisions running through it for generations, that has overcome many of those divides, it is Northern Ireland. Of course there are still problems, but if you talk to a lot of the young generation many of them have a total disconnect with troubled history. It truly is history to them and no longer relevant. The importance of the work goes both ways. It is personal journey, as well. It makes you examine your own identity and what is founded on, where your own prejudices and irrational fears come from. There are agents in most every society that actively try to drive divisions between people and create fear of "the other." It's something we all feel and we all should fight on some level.

SDN: Why are you returning to Belfast?

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ZS: I met a Spanish girl who was working as a forester in Belfast during my year there. We fell in love, and, as of Sept. 8 of this year, we were married in Breckenridge. I am going back in December to be with her. I will continue work along the lines of reconciliation and a big part of which involves music.

SDN: What inspires you when it comes to music?

ZS: Music has always been hugely important to me. It is an essential part of my family. My mom, both of my brothers, and my sister are all musicians. Music to me is where we find the most tangible intersection with the ethereal. Music has more power to change my mind, lift my mood, bring to me a memory than any other thing I can think of. It is one of the strongest connecting points for people and it is why it is used often to build peace. But I try to stay away from agendas with my own music and just let the music be what it is. I have enough material for a new album much of which I wrote in Northern Ireland. I will be recording this album when I return to Belfast. I am also hoping to make a music video of one of my compositions. I look forward to sharing these songs as well as some stories on the 25th.

IF YOU GO

What: Winter Living Room Concert Series with Zac Schmidt

When: Wednesday, Nov. 25

Where: Next Page Books & Nosh, 409 Main St. #101

Cost: Free