By Lucy M. Pritchett

OK, I didn’t think I would ever be composing a sentence that combined the words ‘cellist’ and ‘doula.’ And yet…

Grace Salsman is a cellist and a doula. It’s a good thing she has her faithful Plum Paper customized calendar/agenda to keep her many appointments organized. Here are just a few activities that Grace handles with, well, grace.

She and fellow cellist Seth Johnson perform at weddings, private events, and church functions as Louisville Cellos. They have been performing together for a year and rehearse once a week. “Seth arranges contemporary pop tunes for two cellos. Our newest adventure is playing on the Big Four Bridge. It is such fun and people stop and talk with us and make requests.”

Grace also gives private cello lessons to children and adults and is in her fifth season performing with Louisville Philharmonia — The Musicians’ Orchestra. She is president of the board for the Kling Chamber Orchestra, a community volunteer string orchestra that performs at senior facilities and residential communities.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep her calendar squares full, a year ago she and friend Alyson Thiel joined together to form Artemis + Hera Doulas.

Her first experience as a volunteer doula came when she and Alyson offered support to another friend when she had her first child. “We were in the room with her at the birth. We enjoyed the experience so much we both took a doula course this past January. We are not medical professionals, but we can help with the birth plan, suggest questions to ask at prenatal visits, and try to be prepared for whatever may happen. We are the mom’s advocate. We can do anything from just being a comforting presence in the room to being physically supportive of the mother. We are a team. We are each other’s backup.”

This is quite a switch from playing cello, she admits. “Almost everything I do is music-related — teaching, rehearsals, performances, and I also sing in Schola at St. Francis of Assisi — so being a doula brings out a different side of me. I can help nurture people in a deeply personal way that is very rewarding.”

What works for this 33-year-old creative woman?

TRESemmé Hairspray
I wash my hair every three or four days. I have very fine but thick hair with absolutely no curl to it. Without this spray my hair would be falling in my face. I have been using the aerosol spray — it has to be at least the hold level four or five — since middle school when I had big hair bangs.

Photos by Patti Hartog 

The Vera tote by Vera Bradley
This is a colorful lightweight carrier that holds my oversized music folders, my purse, and my folding music stand. It has six inside pockets so I can stash business cards and other small items. I also carry a supply of Ticonderoga Noir graphite pencils — they have a shiny holographic design. I give them out to my students and tell them never to use a pen on sheet music — always use a pencil. I can swing the bag over my shoulder and carry my cello and a cup of coffee at the same time. It has a flat bottom so it sits on the floor by my chair when I play. I also have a black tote for more formal gigs.

La Conica Caffettiera Espresso by Alessi
This is the silver espresso pot that my husband Chris and I got as a wedding present. It’s from Italy. It works as a stovetop percolator. I lived in Italy for two years and this is how they make coffee there. I use the Illy ground espresso, and I have a double shot with sugar every morning.