Young Catholic Violinist Embraces Touring With Broadway Production

Gioia Gedicks enjoys life on the road for the ‘Come From Away’ North American run.

L to R: Gioia Gedicks poses with her violin and performs in the show.
L to R: Gioia Gedicks poses with her violin and performs in the show. (photo: courtesy of Gioia Gedicks; Matthew Murphy from MurphyMade )

Gioia Gedicks started playing violin when she was 4 years old. Now, just months after graduating with her master’s in violin performance, Gedicks is traversing the continent as the fiddle player for the North American tour of the hit Broadway musical Come From Away.

Originally from Connecticut, Gedicks has been surrounded by music since birth. Her parents and grandparents are musicians, and she started studying music at a young age. Not long after, her father, a music instructor himself, introduced Gedicks to a formative musical influence, the Rankin Family Band, when planning lessons for his music students.

“All my background is classical music. That’s what I’ve studied,” said Gedicks, who earned her master’s degree from Lynn Conservatory, in Florida, in May of this year and graduated in 2021 from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. “But I’ve had a lot of inspiration from different artists that I’ve listened to over the years, particularly one group called the Rankin family, which is a family ‘trad’ band from Canada.”

Trad music — short for “traditional” — is a genre of Canadian folk music with roots in Irish immigrant communities. Gedicks has long loved this style, which features similar instruments and musical elements as traditional Celtic music. The score of Come From Away is heavily influenced by trad music, connecting Gedicks’ first love to her first job.

Come From Away takes place in Newfoundland, Canada, and tells the true story of the thousands of passengers stranded when U.S. airspace closed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and of the local Newfoundlanders who welcomed them as the world reeled from the tragedy. The show’s composers drew on Canadian folk music when writing the score, incorporating samples or musical quotations from popular trad tunes into the show’s various songs.

“You really get that very traditional feeling, and it directs you back to the community and tradition of the people where the show comes from, which is really special,” Gedicks said. While classical music emphasizes technique, trad music is far less precise, she explained.

“It’s much more about the feeling, the community, what the music is transmitting, and how deep the roots are in culture,” she said. “I try to emulate that when I play the show.”

While most musicians stay hidden in the pit during performances, the band of Come From Away takes the stage alongside the actors.

Gedicks loves the mid-show song called Screech In, when the musicians gets to do some acting of their own, performing on stage as if they’re a local trad band playing in the bar where the scene is set.

“I got lucky that my first show was something like this, where it gives me a little more interaction with the audience and the cast. I love that so much, being able to be out there with them,” she said.

With dozens of performances across the United States and Canada, the cast and band travel primarily by bus. If there’s only one show in the city, the performers board the bus again the next morning to depart. But the tour schedule also includes longer stays in some cities, allowing cast and band members to explore local sights.

“It’s really nice when you get to stay for a little longer because you basically have the whole day free until your call time,” Gedicks said. She loves exploring museums, historic landmarks and trying different restaurants based on recommendations from locals. “It’s kind of like an extended vacation, and then you get to play a really fun show in the evening with all your friends,” she said. “For me, it’s a blast.”

Amid the busy pace of the tour, she makes sure to set aside time for prayer and the interior life.

“I always look for a Catholic church anywhere we go so I can find the closest place to get to Mass or find an opportunity for confession or adoration,” Gedicks said.

The performing arts are often secular and progressive, but Gedicks sees plenty of opportunities to grow in holiness as a musician.

“We’re all created with different talents and different gifts. It is my privilege — honestly, it’s my joy — to find what that is and then to cultivate that to the best of my ability, even if that means going into an industry that is perhaps less friendly towards that kind of lifestyle,” she said. “All I can do is … continue to practice my Catholic faith and keep as close to the sacraments as I can.”

“If I present myself as being unsure in what I’m doing or if I show by the way I’m acting that I’m insecure about it, then that leaves more room for people to press in upon that,” she said. The best course of action is to be “quietly cheerful and quietly confident.”

“But I really want to emphasize that most people in general are very supportive of any lifestyle that you want to live. It’s kind of a ‘you-do-you’ moment,” she explained. “If I just say, ‘This is what I do,’ then there’s a lot of respect [for my faith].”

Gedicks will spend the coming months traveling the continent as part of Come From Away band, with the tour extending through August 2024. Only a few months out of school, she isn’t sure what the future holds after this tour, but she’s at peace with it.

“I didn’t ever expect that this job would be mine,” she said. “I didn’t really plan for this — but now that I’m here, it’s the best thing ever. I honestly don’t even know what’s going to make me the most happy, so I’m just going to let God show me what the next thing is, because he led me here, and this is so much fun.”

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