My Savannah: Maria Zouves

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Co-founder and president of the Savannah VOICE Festival reflects on a typical day — and the festival’s 10th anniversary, running Aug. 7–21

Photography by MICHAEL SCHALK

7 a.m.: First things first: I take our miniature Aussiedoodle, Mathilde, for a run. She’s high-energy, so she loves to go to The Hipster Hound. They really take care of her! 

9 a.m.: After a coffee or herbal tea from Savannah Coffee Roasters, I get my day started by checking in with the festival team. I always ask myself the same question, “What does our mission need from me today?” That usually includes meetings, calls and lots of communication with my partner in crime (and in life!), Sherrill Milnes.

12 p.m.:  We always order takeout from Fire Street Food for our cast members if we’re rehearsing, and The 5 Spot is an oft-used “production office” for the Savannah VOICE Festival team. I’ve got a simple lunchtime rule: Fill your plate with vegetables, and the rest sorts itself out. That’s why I never miss a scoop of the Flavor of the Month at Leopold’s Ice Cream (February’s rose ice cream is my forever favorite).  

2 p.m.: I’m a fan of the European clock. I like a midday rest, then I tend to work later into the evening. For me, midday also includes food prep for the evening, because I love to cook. The Salt Table is my go-to for smoked salts, and I buy supplies at Yia Yia’s Kitchen & Marketplace.   

7 p.m.: Our life is music, and music is our life, so we can’t really separate our work from fun — but that’s a good thing. I love to work late and then go straight to dinner with friends, who are often colleagues or artists, too. Plant Riverside District offers a range of restaurant choices, but if I’m in the mood for steak frites, then Circa 1875 is my go-to.  

9 p.m.: I’m on a big kick to move more, sleep more and spend more time in meditative thought. Work seems less stressful when I keep these things at the forefront. Music is my life’s work, but I listen to everything all day long, from 1940s swing to 1980s rock (my guilty pleasure!).   

10:30 p.m.: My idea of winding down is playing with Mathilde and getting her ready for bed. She’s a soft, cuddly thing that centers us. My husband and son adore her, too, so it’s a family affair to laugh at her antics and love on her.