Thursday, October 07, 2010

Things that made me come alive today

Listening to the Chattanooga Symphony String Quintet perform at our school today

I play the flute. Did you know that? I do. Well, I did. I started playing the flute in fourth grade. We lived in Nashville at the time and in the public school system, every child had to either play an instrument in the band, the orchestra or sing in chorus. I will forever be grateful that the school system valued music so deeply as to require that. It was playing the flute that gave me some of my most amazing musical opportunities. I played all through middle school, taking lessons periodically, and all through high school as well. I auditioned for every all-county/all-district/all-state band or orchestra that I could. Band geek? Yes, proudly.

One of the greatest musical experiences that I ever had was being accepted to play flute in the North Carolina Governor's School orchestra. Governor's School is an exclusive summer program designed to enhance the academic, artistic and performing talents of North Carolina's high school students. Each year, there is fierce competition to obtain a coveted spot on one of their campuses. I practiced and rehearsed for that audition like none other. And it was worth every minute.

I was part of a group of students that were as passionate about music as I was. We were exposed to all types of orchestral music, not just classical. I remember being completely weirded out by a piece that we played composed by Phillip Glass. The printed music consisted of simply beats on a page with directions about what to do with our instrument. Not musical notes, but directions that had me blowing directly into the mouthpiece while loudly banging on the keys. It was bizarre and modern and completely unlike anything to which I had ever been exposed. It was awesome.

However, the highlight of being in the Governor's School orchestra for me was being introduced to Gustav Holst's "The Planets." Oh my. I had never heard anything like it in my sixteen year old life and I was hooked. I couldn't wait for the section of rehearsal when we pulled out "Jupiter" and played that lively, rollicking piece. Even better, I won the piccolo part and playing those light, airy notes made my heart leap. Oh, and then the solemn and mournful middle section where the strings and horns join together in a reverent melody! I remember when we finally performed it for our families and friends, I sat in my chair with tears in my eyes at how achingly beautiful it sounded. To this day, I can't listen to it without being moved that same way.

The string quintet today brought back all those memories. I play classical music for my kids each morning but listening to them reminded me that a worthy purchase might be the pieces I know and love. I so miss teaching at a classical school, one that values that piece of a child's musical education. The classics, the music that has and will stand the test of time. Listening to them made my heart beat a little faster, I found myself breathing more deeply and a part of my truest self was uncovered. I'm wondering what I might need to do to truly reconnect with that part...

Wandering around Barnes and Noble

I texted Jason after school, "I need to go to Barnes and Noble and soak in some books. Be home around six." Oh yes, I needed to go to Barnes and Noble. Something about the string quintet had me thinking about the things that I deeply love. I don't know if it was really even conscious but I just knew I needed to go buy a book. A good book. One worth reading. Or maybe it was just that I needed to be in the midst of books. Either way, it was good. It was calming and soothing and I bought a very good book indeed, an old friend with whom I'd like to be reacquainted. I also found an inexpensive copy of "The Planets." Thank you, bargain bin, don't mind if I do.

Hearing a pair of owls hooting in the distance as I took Knox for his evening walk

It reminded me of when we lived here and got to experience this and this and this and this. Sigh. I would've stood on the sidewalk and listened for a while but I think I was weirding out the folks in the nearby houses. Still, it did my heart good to hear those calls and know just what was behind it all.

And to know it wasn't monkeys on the loose. Seriously, go check out the "this" links.

1 comment:

  1. You are the coolest band geek I know. And where have I been this month? Had no idea you were blogging so much!



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