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Emily Grossman


October 1, 2006 at 9:52 AM

The auditorium darkened. The stage ambience glowed in vibrant warmth as the conductor took the podium. There I was, electrified by the moment I had been anticipating for perhaps nearly all of my life. This would be the first time ever that I took the stage in a professional orchestra. It was official; I was now a professional violinist--100%. In concert black attire, now brushing the rosin off my slacks, I looked out into the expectant audience and awaited the oboe's A.


I'm not really sure what I was expecting. I knew my notes wouldn't suddenly become flawless. I didn't think that angels would descend from the backstage rafters, singing allelujahs. Perhaps secretly I hoped that the conductor would give me an exclusive, knowing look as he cued the first violins for the third movement. He didn't. I didn't really think that I personally would impress anyone, though; I knew better.

For so many others who played tonight, this performance was just another of many many years of performances, strung along like cheerios on a thread. The musicians waited in the lounge during the intermission in the same fashion that one might wait on a bus or at an airport terminal. Afterward, they gathered their belongings and mingled their way toward the exits.

I saw no familiar faces. I had no bouquets to juggle in my armload. I detached myself from the crowd and began my five-block journey to my car unnoticed. I drove to an empty house in the dark.

Anticlimactic? I guess it depends on the angle of perspective I choose to take. Bravos and accolades are freely given and withheld, largely indiscriminate of the circumstances. Achievements tend to become dwarfed on the ever-spiraling ladder of success, leaving the insatiable soul thirsty for the next conquest.

Where then lies joy?

I found bits of it tonight, over in the bass section, and echoing off the ceiling panels. It sparkled in the swells of the violins and shimmered in the timbre of the french horn. I heard it tonight, the same old rainbow's tail that I’ve been chasing all along. It's still there, as it has always been and will continue to be.

The music, it's not heaven, but its beauty bears some resemblance. Home is far away, but I get postcards sometimes.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on October 1, 2006 at 9:18 PM
Anticlimactic if viewed as a X game. Not so if viewed as the start of new responsibility and stability.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 7:13 AM
I can't seem to handle responsiblity. I lost my music on Wednesday, my purse on Thursday, and my wallet on Friday. But I guess they showed up again, and I guess I made it to the concerts on time, so I don't know, maybe I'm going to grow up one of these days after all.

Responsibility... Sigh.

I kinda hope I don't, though. Adults aren't much fun.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 7:55 AM
I never heard of anyone who looses their purse to prove they're still 29 1/2 before. apparently aren't hanging out with the right adults. In fact I'm pretty sure of that:)
From Kelsey Z.
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 2:27 PM
What adults, Jim? There's only polar bears up there. ;)

No, I'm kidding of course. I've been up near Alaska before and I did see people.

Emily, just take it a step at a time and try to enjoy being in the moment. I remember I used to hype up a performance or experience in my mind before the event and then I was always disappointed because it was never as cool as I had imagined, when I stopped doing that and speculating on what it would be like and being more of a "free spirit" towards the whole thing, I found I was usually delightfully suprised!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 2:49 PM
My apologies to all adults I may have offended with my last comment. Certainly I've known many fine, non-boring adults.

It's just that when I truly do enjoy the company of people, it usually involves unpretentious, innocent silliness--the kind of qualities I enjoy when I am with children. And sometimes I am desperately afraid that I will leave those qualities behind. To remain childlike without being childish, now that's the trick...

Ah, why do I bother trying to explain myself? Nevermind. Just nevermind.

From Michael Schallock
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 4:56 PM
Well Emily, I had a great time playing and visiting with you. I thought that you played really well and from about 20 inches away I should know. I know what you mean about the anticipation and then the reality of the performance. How do you feel now that you are home safe and warm?
Thanks for playing. I certainly appreciate your presence and dedication.
From Linda Lerskier
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 7:48 PM
Angels may not have descended, but I did with my Allelujah!
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 11:51 PM
Oh, and many congratulations on your much anticipated return to the stage! Here's the bouquet they didn't give you to juggle: *bling*.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 3, 2006 at 3:41 AM
Michael, I'm still mortified about the early entrance on the satanic chromatic sixteenths in the waltz. At least I know I wasn't the only one. ;)

Linda, will you never cease to amaze with your pointy fork and horns, calling 'allelujah' in devil's garb whilst the angels lay duct-taped in the dressing rooms? The satanic sixteenths I bestow upon you as homage from an ever-astute, violin-endearing Tchaikovsky. I hope they were music to your little pointy ears.

Gotta get these in some water before they get droopy. Lovely.

From Judy Terwilliger
Posted on October 3, 2006 at 2:02 PM
Ah Emily,

From the sublime to the ridiculous. I made my debut on Sat. night at an outdoor gig. It was about 55 degrees, so a little chilly. What did I play??? Well, I accompanied a singing cowboy in 2 numbers and then there was the bluegrass band. A well known local banjo player and his son. with a bass, mandolin, guitar and me! playing the well known tunes, Blackberry Blossom, Oklahoma Hills, Get in Line Brother etc. for about 30 minutes. The experience, not near the same as yours! But for a bunch of adults, we had fun!

Congratulations on your debut. Love the flowers.


From Michael Schallock
Posted on October 3, 2006 at 2:12 PM
Don't worry about a little slip on those 16ths. You definitely weren't the only one!
Jessica and I thought of another reason you might have felt a little "disconnected" from the orchestra. First, you were near the back of the section but more importantly you had no stand partner.
Maybe next time..but with 11 firsts someone has to be a loner.
From Søren Basbøll
Posted on October 3, 2006 at 2:27 PM
there is still hope for you. I am twice as old as you are, and I am still not grown up...
From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 3, 2006 at 6:20 PM
Judy, you were playing some of my favorite music with some of my very favorite musical instruments. I can't wait to play with my folks back home again. I'm glad you got such an opportunity.

Michael, I'm already stoked about the upcoming concert: Rach 3! Ahh, I'll be too busy concentrating on weeping discreetly... It's so beautiful.

S☺ren, you can be on my snowball team any time.

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