Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Just overwhelmed

Here it’s only Tuesday and I’m already overwhelmed.  I had an hour between work and community band rehearsal tonight and I sat in the car and watched people coming and going from the grocery store wishing I just had grocery shopping to do.    Sometimes getting to rehearsal seems so hard, but once I’m there I’m usually glad I went.  But not tonight.  Tonight we got all new music for our last concert which is in 6 weeks.  I didn’t like any of it, and it all looks like a lot of work.  And I’m too tired to think about it.

Last night Katie and I went to school.  The instructor is getting more accepting of us, and occasionally we get a “good job with the Sheltie.”  But we also still get “the Sheltie is lagging!”  Which of course she is.  I think it has more to do with where my shoulder is than a problem with Katie.  It’s hardly ever the dog’s fault you know.    She did great on her sits and downs this week; last week she kept lying down on the sits.  But her recalls were really horrible.  She’d come when I called, but she’d run past me and hide behind my legs.  She was worried about the shadows from the overhead lights, though they are the same as they’ve always been.  She didn’t like the conformation class in the next ring because one of the little hairless something or others kept squealing.  I didn’t like that noise either.  The highlight of my whole week so far is that Katie allowed the instructor to touch her on the stand for exam! 🙂

So that’s my week in a nutshell so far…on day two.  Tomorrow night I have book club and I haven’t finished the book yet.  Guess that’s not going to happen.  But dinner and conversation that doesn’t revolve around work or the dog will be good!

Hope everyone else is having a great week!  I’m with Carol…no more talk about snow!


How to color a black and white weekend

It’s snowing here.  Big wet white flakes.  The sun is hidden and any grass that had emerged is covered again.  And they say we’ll get 3 more inches tonight.  My world has threatened to turned black and white.

But thankfully I didn’t have to sit here and watch the snow pile up.  No I did not.  Today the community band I play with participated in a concert band festival.  Twelve community bands from across the region were invited to play for judges comments and incidentally for the other musicians hanging out waiting for their own group to go on.

Each band played a program lasting approximately 45 minutes.  They started at 9 in the morning and the music kept on until after 6 p.m.  We were the fourth band up and played  Sousa, Gershwin, Hazo and other composers.  Everything went magically, as often happens on concert day.  I had to concentrate on concentrating, afraid to get lost in the music for fear of forgetting to come in when I was supposed to.  But it was tempting to just go with the moment.  And it was so much fun.

It’s always interesting to play in a hall you’ve never been in before.  The sounds are so different in every place you play and sometimes cues you’re used to hearing don’t sound the same once you’re on a new stage.  On the other hand the clarinet player next to me and I both jumped at one point when the gong in the percussion section was hit.  Apparently it had been in the music all along, but we’d never heard it before!

We’d been warned by our conductor that the adjudicator assigned to us was tough; a retired band teacher who still teaches private lessons.   And we haven’t yet heard the comments she put on tape during the actual performance, but she walked into the room where we assembled after our concert to hear her verdict and told us that she had been enjoying the music so much she had forgotten to write any comments down!  She did mention that we could do more with dynamics; many community band have issues with dynamics.  Like she says, every band can play loud and fast…the good ones can play with feeling, soft, loud, fast and slow.  We did quite a bit of that…but we could do more.  Needless to say we were thrilled by her comments on the things we did well.

After we were finished I slipped back into the auditorium to sit with my husband and listen to two more bands.  One was a band I played with more than 15 years ago.  Many of the players I’d known were still there…some with gray hair or no hair…but recognizable even from the audience.  I enjoyed listening to them very much, especially when the conductor who had been there so many years ago came out to conduct one of the pieces.  It was as if the band perked up and played especially well for him.  And I was glad I had the opportunity to see him.

And the second band was the one my Aunt plays with down near Ann Arbor.  I’ve never heard them play. Often their concerts this past season were weekday nights or nights we had concerts ourselves.  So it was especially fun to listen to her group perform.

I have to thank my husband for going with me.  He sat through four bands..and concert band music can get a little old after several hours of it. Especially if you don’t play an instrument.   But he’s a trooper and I appreciate it.  I made him some cookies tonight as a thanks.

And of course Katie-girl wanted to know what she got for having to stay home alone most of the day.  So I took her out to play in the snow this evening.

Somehow as she sits drooling on our feet as we enjoy the oatmeal cherry raisin cookies I don’t think that was exactly what she was hoping for.

Silly girl.


Lost in the music

Tonight was my first concert in a very long time.  The first time in years that I was sitting in the band rather than out in the audience.  It’s heaven.  I wish everyone could have the experience of being in the music; to hear the sounds as they’re being created before the notes head out over the heads of the audience.

This was our “Spooktacular” concert filled with scary music about snakes and magic and phantoms.  In fact we had our very own phantom, a tenor with a beautifully powerful voice, who sang music from Phantom of the Opera while we accompanied him.  He was singing about 18 inches from where I sat, and on a couple of occasions during the long piece of music I actually stopped playing, mesmerized by the power of his voice.

I didn’t want that piece of music to end, because when again will I be surrounded by sounds so exquisite, be so close to a voice like that?  I was treasuring it while it was happening, enjoying the full-up feeling of being totally happy, glad to be in the moment.

I said before that if everyone could play music, either alone, or with large groups, if everyone could get that special high from making something beautiful, if everyone in the world could create something, something so elusive, so transparent, so temporary, but so solid and powerful, if everyone could make music the world would be better.  I still believe that.

Wishing each of you days filled with wonder, music and art.  It can’t hurt.


Falling off a bike

So you know that I started back to work at a new/old job this week.  It’s been over four years since I was there, and the economic world has changed.  Heck the whole world has changed.  Now there are many rules and procedures, all done online, that were never in place before.  Most of them make a lot of sense, but it’s still a lot to remember.

Several people that I knew from back “in the days” have stopped by my cube and asked how I was doing.  When I expressed a doubt about something they’d all say “It’s like riding a bike, you’ll remember.”  So far I’m replying that my bike feels like it has a flat.

You probably don’t know that I also rejoined the local community band. (It’s on my list of 101 things to do in 101 days.)  I belonged seven or eight years ago, but left because they were too small and didn’t play many concerts.  Over the years I’ve checked on them, and they seemed to be growing and playing more events.  So I signed up again.  At rehearsal last week there were only 4 clarinets.  Way too few.  I stubbornly held onto the 2nd clarinet folder of music, refusing to play first.  After all it has been at least 6 years since I’ve played anything.  This week at rehearsal there were four clarinets, but not the same ones as last week.  Again I was asked if I could play the 1st part.  I told them the last time I played 1st clarinet was in1978 and I’d rather stick to 2nd.  And the director said….”It’s like riding a bike.”

Lately my world is all about getting back on that bike.  But I think I need to get the tires re-inflated first.