September 11, 2013 at 3:46 PMThe audition could have gone better. Had I been able to perform publicly on a consistent basis, or at least been able to put myself in front of my students, or dogs, or whatever (yes, turtles, I admit I didn't use you nearly enough), I might have been more comfortable. But really, it's called stage fright for a reason, and I hadn't taken the actual stage for an audition since, well, high school. Twenty years. How's that for stage fright? So, given the circumstances, I played acceptably. My bow arm suffered rigor mortis from the sudden death it feared, so the phrasing in the Mozart came across as choppy and inconclusive. But the runs mostly came out. And the rest of the audition? Well, it went. I missed a shift in the Bartok, and they let me redo it, unexpectedly. Afterward, I couldn't get far enough away from that audition, and I was thankful for the 150 miles that separated me from home, which would allow myself to unwind as I drove.
But 150 miles... When the news arrived the next day that I'd secured not only a position as a substitute violist, but a tenured position as well, I actually cried. I should have been overjoyed! I was definitely flattered. But 150 miles... I looked at the schedule. As a tenured violist, I would be required to attend all rehearsals, and this included not only the usual five classical concerts, but the pops concerts, the Nutcracker, the children's concerts, and the silent film--I simply could not make the commute. I'd already committed to a full semester of teaching 35 students, and even if I threw prudence to the wind, I had no housing, no way to pay off the loan on my current violin, no possible way to be a full-fledged symphony musician without moving to Anchorage. This was me, the poster child of the Advocacy of Dreamchasing, taking an ice-cold reality check.
The decision must be made. I slept on it. I began a letter, half a dozen times, but procrastinated in sending it, just in case I'd overlooked something, or circumstances had changed somehow. The next day, as I walked the dogs in the neverending rain, I thought over all the discussions that had gone back and forth, and seemingly impenetrable "no" surrounding the possibility of moving to Anchorage. When I returned, I saw the number flashing on my answering machine and replayed a message from the personnel manager, who sought to ascertain my decision; they needed to print the season programs and would like to know if I would be added as a tenured player this year. I picked up the phone. My heart sank. I would have to turn down the tenured spot and remain a sub.
It was not until four in the morning that, having awoken inexplicably from a deep sleep, it all finally hit me. I'd dozed off on the couch; alone in the darkness, I felt a sudden surge of anger and pain. This was not just a fanciful dream; this was my career! I'd worked so hard, so many hours a day, all these years, and now I was forced to deny myself the reward of my efforts. And for what? For what? So I could play Sousa marches in the community orchestra? So I could play unaccompanied Bach, all alone in my studio, crossing my fingers in hopes that ASO needs a sub for the next concert? And what if they don't? Entire years have gone by without a phone call. I'd end up teaching my 35 lessons a week, paying my bills like a good girl, growing old in quiet resignation... At four in the morning, when these thoughts assailed me, I felt like hopping in the car and driving far, far away. I didn't even know where I'd go; this time of year, I'm always overwhelmed with a strong, survival-driven urge to migrate. Quick, before the snow flies.
Is the best answer to move out of state? Am I only being discontent and overlooking all the positive aspects of being a violinist in Soldotna, AK? Am I losing hope in my vision when everything is getting ready to finally come together? I don't know. I do know that I will be subbing for the two fall concerts with the Anchorage Symphony. I'm incredibly grateful for these opportunities, and I practice faithfully each day, in hopes of future playing and performing opportunities. I'm grateful for the time I've had to myself, to be able to devote my undivided attention to practicing and improving my skills. It's been a good journey so far. ...Rough at times, but this is Alaska, after all.
I don't know what's ahead. I keep hoping it's something good. We'll see.
Not knowing what 'tenured' means in terms of income/job security, etc., that's about all I can say. Other than, I suspect that you too are standing on the shores of a new thing.
I hope and trust that things will work out for you. Good luck!
Just a quick word to say congratulations! Whatever choice(s) you decide to pursue, your hard work of the summer really paid off. Very happy for you!
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