We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Cassel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, what do you want your legacy to be?
I hope that especially my children will remember as they grow into adults that “work” doesn’t have to be confined to the box that society tells us “work” is. You can piece together a life of work that fulfills your soul, helps humanity, and still brings in sustenance for your family. Your job (or jobs!) can be hand-crafted to create a life that has purpose. My hope is that I will leave a legacy of compassion and acceptance for my students and my fellow community members, along with the hope of creating lasting change in our society.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a cello teacher and musician by “day”, social activist by “night”. For the past 11-12 years, I have started a private cello studio in Atlanta, started a Suzuki Strings program in Covington, GA, been a founding member of the eclectic cello quartet Atlanta Celli, and played in the Savannah Philharmonic. The road to building all of those different pieces of my career was bumpy, full of long nights and weekends traveling all over Georgia. During the pandemic, I was forced to take a step back from all of it except for virtual cello teaching, as my family hunkered down with my kids (my son has needed extra precautions due to health issues). Though extremely caught off guard like most musicians during the pandemic, this time has allowed me to turn to other ventures. I participated in an anti-racism discussion panel called A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth, which led to starting my own Instagram page called @relearningushistory. I’ve been working all year to help be a voice that tells more of our country’s true history, the history we might not have learned in school. My virtual/hybrid cello teaching is still going, but I have also now become an administrator for A Long Talk’s activism group called Pillars of Change. The pandemic was so hard on so many, but I am grateful for the time it allowed me to take stock of where my strengths could be most utilized. Creating cello studios and strings programs from scratch has given me the organizational tools and drive to help A Long Talk/Pillars of Change in their first year as a start-up. The entire experience has shown me that you don’t have to be pigeon-holed into one type of job, or just keep “plodding along”- take the time to find your true calling, weave your passion project into your life, work outside the box, and don’t be afraid to have multiple outlets for your career.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We live on the east side of Atlanta, where I’m very biased to think all of Atlanta’s best neighborhoods join together in a wonderful ring of good food and outdoor space. I love taking people to the Beltline, heading to Old Fourth Ward park, grabbing Anna’s BBQ or Barcelona or Morelli’s Icecream. We love the Zoo and hanging outside at El Tesoro, and every week we walk to grab treats from our FAVORITE bakery Evergreen Butcher & Baker. There are way too many cool places in Grant Park, Inman Park, Kirkwood, Oakhurst, and Decatur to name them all- but we love everything about all of our east side neighborhoods! My best friend would need to just move here to experience it all!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely want to shout out to the founders of A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth for helping push me outside my comfort zone of “job stability” and into a life of purpose. I also could not have made the pivot to add this new part of my life without the support of my husband. He has been there to talk me through every step of the way, taken on the financial burden for our family, and encouraged me at every turn.