Friday, November 21, 2014

Thankful, 2014: A Chance to Watch

1. At my students’ fall recital, sitting finally—momentarily—watching and listening. These milestones—you hit them whether you feel ready or not, whether you are sick or healthy, regardless of what else is happening in your life. We work for mastery. We work to capture the spirit of the piece. But what is on display in front of us is always deeper than those things, broader than the performance.

 So many dramas at play, and most of it hidden.

My pride in my students, and the fact that I am on the edge of my seat for each person who walks to the front of the church and bows and plays and bows again has everything to do with knowing them. Their stories, their struggles, their triumphs. Working with them I have gotten glimpses of these things, and I promise you even Twinkle is never the same piece twice.

2. Sitting with the pit band on the opening night of Fiddler on the Roof. Technically my first high school musical, if you don’t count the All-City Opera production of “The Magic Flute” I played in ninth grade. It is an odd and beautiful experience at 42, and I can’t get enough of watching. 

I am here to play, but my heart is with Oldest, on stage. Stage fright for the people you love is almost worse than stage fright for yourself, and it has nothing to do with your confidence in your loved ones or their abilities. As we start playing “To Life” the only thing tempering the adrenaline is the fact that I am used to playing despite it. Besides, I have to focus on what I am doing. 

And then it is his solo, and he is standing on a bench, hand raised in blessing—hand with new angles, and handsome—nailing it:

Za vasle zdorovie
Heaven bless you both, Na zdrovie
To your health, and may we live together in peace!

I get to watch, and I get to be part of the music—his music. My pride in him, the fact that I am on the edge of my seat—you know what that is. I have been watching him since what must be the beginning of time, and the story is rich and complex and I know I will never grasp all of it.

But I get to watch.

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