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We’re heading to the coast…a story

May 7, 2009

The short version:

I’m going to Oakland to play my cello in an orchestra concert.

The long version (and I wish I was a great storyteller, because this one is pretty good, although I’m still wondering how I got myself into this):

The lady behind me in my orchestra moved up here (SLC) from down there (Oakland) a few years ago and played with a community orchestra which apparently has trouble finding enough string players.  She and her daughter have returned to Oakland several times to play more concerts with the group.  They fly down for the dress rehearsal, play two concerts, and fly home.  It sounds so simple.

So I showed up to rehearsal a while back and she was bemoaning the fact that the conductor really really needs another cellist for their next concert and she really didn’t feel like she could go down on that particular weekend and play this time around.  I said I was sorry she couldn’t make it, it sounded like a fun concert.  She said, “Well, maybe you could do it.”  I said, “Sure, ok, that sounds great!”  I was kidding.  She was not. 

She called the conductor, who incidentally also lives here in Utah and commutes down for rehearsals, to see if he’d want me instead if I was available.  Apparently he did and was willing to pay airfare to get another cellist there. 

My calendar was free for the weekend in question, and for a random moment, I fantasized about getting away from it all for a couple of days by myself.  But reality kicked in, and the thought of travelling by myself really wasn’t that appealing.  I’d much rather spend time with the family, just getting away from most of it.  DH was thrilled.  He’s been wanting to take a road trip for months and here was the perfect opportunity!  He didn’t hesitate a moment when I asked if maybe, possibly, he’d like to go to San Francisco for a few days.  Neither one of us has ever been there.

But here’s the deal:  He can’t actually leave the day I need to be there, so the orchestra is flying me to Oakland, and supposedly finding a cello I can borrow just for the dress rehearsal so I don’t have to deal with the hassle of flying with mine.  DH and the boys (and my cello) will then drive to San Francisco the next day to meet up with me (we hope, if all goes well.)  We’ll explore the Bay Area for a couple days, I’ll play a couple concerts, and we’ll drive back home together.

How do I get myself into these things???  I guess this is another plus to homeschooling.  Sure, we can just pack up and head two states away to play in a concert.  No problem, we don’t have to worry about pulling the kids out of school or anything like that.  The boys are thrilled, by the way.  A has been looking in the road atlas everyday, tracing the route and telling me all the things we’ll see along the way. 

I, on the other hand (not that I’m not thrilled to drive across the salt flats again) have this nervous knot in my stomach.  I’ve been practicing Beethoven like mad (and still have a ways to go) so I don’t completely embarrass myself.  I prefer to sightread my orchestra music with the orchestra so I know how my part fits into the whole before I begin my personal practicing.  That’s not a luxury I have this time around.  I’m trying to overpractice as I get one opportunity to rehearse with the group and then it’s showtime!  Thank heavens for recordings (and late night emails to the conductor for random questions about tempo.)  And yes, I have played Beethoven’s 6th before.  In college.  14 years ago.

I still wonder just how this all worked out.  I have gotten myself into some of the strangest situations.  I even taught junior high orchestra one year (an experience I never want to repeat) because supposedly they were desperate and I was available.  Or maybe I’m just in the right place at the right time.  I’m not sure, but this one will definitely be an experience.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2009 7:44 am

    Sounds like a fun adventure to me. I am sure all will turn out well. Hope you all have lots of fun!

  2. May 8, 2009 8:01 am

    Sounds like a really fun trip! Oakland used to be our temple district before the Reno Temple was built.

    Winnemucca is only 6 hours away from Salt Lake on your way back. You’ll be driving right through on I-80. 😀 We’d love to have you stop if you have the time. If not we understand that too, especially when boys are sleeping and you don’t want to wake them up.

  3. May 8, 2009 2:32 pm

    OH WHAT FUN! you’ll have a blast and do a FABULOUS job. And you’ll come home refreshed from your little break (and the fact that this adventure has come to a close). Enjoy yourself!!!

  4. May 12, 2009 4:55 am

    What a great opportunity for you and way to turn it into a family vacation! Maybe this will become a permanent gig?

  5. May 17, 2009 4:19 pm

    ah, now i see why you are in sf for the weekend. i’m behind on my blog reading (but you already knew that.)

    i hope that the concert was wonderful. i’m sure you were great. sounds like a great excuse for a family trip.

    and i have a hard time saying no, too, especially when people are “desperate”.

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