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Bravo! (both for the music and the fact that I survived!)

May 22, 2013

For weeks now I’ve been looking forward to May 18.  May 18, I just have to get through May 18, then life will slow down a bit.


Let’s back up a little:

Last Saturday was my final symphony concert with its accompanying two nights of 3-hour rehearsals.  Plus my usual night of teaching lessons an hour away and travelling back home.  Then some weeks ago my friend called to ask if I could play the cello parts for her piano students’ chamber music recital 45 minutes away.  Of course I said yes, and only after that did I realize that meant I would be gone every night last week.  Can I say thank goodness C sprained his wrist and we didn’t go roller skating on Monday after all?  (Don’t tell him I said that!)  And after the recital and my lessons were over, I still had to come  home and practice more for my concert.  There were a few more notes in Verdi than I was expecting!

It was one of those weeks I was bemoaning the hours musicians keep.  I mean we just don’t work 9 to 5!  But by the end of the week, I was thinking this is one of those times I love being a musician!

The concert was fabulous!  2013 marks the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth so we collaborated with the Utah Voices choir (which is always a great experience, we did Beethoven’s 9th last year with them and it was a highlight of my musical life!) and did an all Verdi program.  When I first heard about it, I was really hoping we would do the Verdi Requiem which is on my musical bucket list, but instead we did the Four Sacred Pieces or Quattro Pezzi Sacri (it sounds so much cooler in Italian) for the first half and operatic pieces on the second half.  The Four Pieces were beautiful, although the Stabat Mater and Te Deum were what I’ve been losing sleep over!

One of my cello students was complaining about a piece she had for school last week saying it “was, like, written in ten sharps or something.”  I had to tell her a key signature of ten sharps wasn’t possible (there are only seven) but I’ve done my share of complaining over six sharps and five flats.  Why is nothing for singers ever written in C Major???

I was glad we got the Te Deum out of the way on the first half so we could just have fun on the second half.  We began with the overture to La Forza del Destino, which I still have stuck in my head, and then a soprano aria from the same.  It was a night of “Bravo”s from the audience, and can I just say it is so satisfying to play a concert that is so pleasing to the listeners.  It’s certainly fun to play and rehearse (mostly) but in the end, being able to give our music to an audience is why we do what we do.  It makes all the hard work worth it.

The choir joined us for “Va Pensiero,” with its six sharps in the key signature again, and then the “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore, which if you think you don’t know it, you do–Think “Used, used, this book gets used, it is the one that we use.”  Yes, I’ll forever associate this particular Verdi with the Yellow Pages commercial of years ago.  In place of an anvil, a choir member provided us with some rail.  Struck with a hammer, it made a convincing anvil.  C and D were sitting in the balcony just behind the percussion section and they were so surprised the first time they heard it.   They both had to lean over to see what was making that sound!

We ended with the big finale from Act II of Aida, minus the elephants as they wouldn’t have fit through the stage door.  It was quite the crowd-pleaser.  For my part I just love big choral/orchestral concerts.  I’m sure it’s part of my genetic makeup.  The big combined choir and orchestra projects we did every year at BYU were always my favorites.

And now I’m glad that the May 18 concert is over!  We didn’t have very many rehearsals and I missed the very first one due to taking care of B after his surgery so I’ve felt like I’ve been running to catch up ever since and there were some really hard spots in there!

Every summer DH tells me that I should keep thinking of Tuesday nights as my own.  Even though symphony is done until fall, Tuesday nights are mine to go out or do whatever I wish.  So I was really looking forward to escaping last night.  I’ve been in need of a break for a while yet.  But somewhere last week, DH said, “Now you remember I’m going to Denver on Monday, right???”  No.  In all my thinking, I was just trying to get through May 18!  I hadn’t even looked ahead to realize that yes, even though last week was done, I still had to get through this week!  Which meant 48 hours without DH and being on my own with a 3-year-old who is really trying my patience lately getting up at night 47 times after I first put him to bed.

Of course now that DH is back home safe tonight, E hasn’t gotten up . . . ok, maybe once.  So I don’t know if Daddy is the charm, or if E could tell Mommy was about to snap and decided to give me that break I’ve been looking for!

Life is slowing down a bit though, despite the fact I just started the boys on two weeks of swimming lessons.  Book club is over for the summer, history club is over, and E’s last day of Kindermusik was last Friday which was a huge relief.  DH really wanted E to experience a music class since all of his brothers got to go through the program.  He was originally going to be the parent who would go with E, but two weeks into the class, he fell on the ice and well, you’ve heard the whole surgery story already.  He’s usually had physical therapy on Fridays so I ended up taking E to class, which meant the other three were basically on their own for school on Friday mornings, which was . . . not my ideal.  I’ve given up on a lot of my ideals this year though, so it’s ok, but I’m really looking forward to the next three weeks of focusing on school and not much else.  Maybe we can have a strong finish to the year yet.

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