A string bass, a library and quilting are three things that seem to have little in common, unless you’re talking about Julie Machado, Managing Librarian for the Spanish Springs Library and bassist for the Reno Philharmonic. Her passion for music and literature extends well beyond the concert hall and library walls. An October performance with guitarist, Tim Gorelangton in their duo, Shiloh, was an evening under the stars benefiting the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund. She also performs with her husband, Larry Machado’s jump jive swing band Brassakwards.
If you ask Machado “What’s new?” expect an interesting answer. During the “Home Means Nevada” Shiloh, toured the state with Mark Twain impressionist, McEvoy Layne. She is currently editing a book on the 50 year history of the Reno Philharmonic and performed in the orchestra for the Western Nevada Musical Theater Company’s production of “Little Mermaid” in November. She loves playing musicals “the feeling of sitting in an ensemble with a big choir and orchestra pieces like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”
Performing with Shiloh gives her opportunity to engage with the audience as well as to experiment with different music genres. “When I play with my duo, I want that symbiotic relationship with the audience,” she explained. She estimates that they perform one new song at each performance. At one gig they even did a gypsy-style version of Robert Plant’s “Darkness, Darkness”.
Machado manages her multi-faceted life with excellent organization skills and by focusing on one thing at a time. At the library she is devoted to the patrons and staff and continues to expand her knowledge through classes and articles and blogs. A voracious reader herself, Machado is particularly drawn to non-fiction and as well as memoirs like Michael P. Branch’s Raising Wild. “People’s real lives are fascinating,” she notes.
She is equally focused on her music and is adamant about the importance of practice. “If you want to be creative, you have to practice at it.” She practices in 45 minute blocks after work honing in on what she wants to accomplish. Machado explains that whether working on a classical piece or show tunes, “You need to put your whole heart and soul into whatever you’re doing—the end product is worth all the hardship.”
Machado has a vibrant sense of humor as well as a keen sense of professionalism. She has a bright yellow bass dubbed Miss Sunshine. The quilt she designed for a journalist friend incorporated words along with the colors, black, white and red. What else besides a newspaper is black, white and “read” all over?
During her career, Machado’s planning skills she honed for performances have also supported her implementation of projects at the library. Managing the people, books and building of a library, organizing a performance or designing a quilt—all require attention to detail of each individual piece as well as the ability to see the big picture.