December 6, 2009 at 5:14 AM
As I was looking ahead to my day tomorrow, I realized that it is a quintessential snapshot of what many musicians live at certain regular 'seasons' of our year. Most musicians I know wear many hats...tomorrow just happens to be a sort of quick-change example for me, that many of you can relate to.
It's December...it's Advent. I am a church musician, so I spend many hours this month on Advent and Christmas music. Tomorrow I'll leave my house by 8:30, in order to get to church early enough to run a practice for the service, practice a duet that I'm singing and generally prepare for the day. After the service, I meet with a volunteer choir to prepare a Christmas Eve piece, get with the guitarist and drummer about a new number for next week, then fly out the door by about noon. In time to
drive 20 miles north, where I put on my 'conductor/teacher' hat. Tomorrow is our Christmas concert for the arts school where I teach. I conduct the youth and combined orchestras. Our call is 1:20, for a concert that begins at 2. The first half is a production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and we are featured in the second half. We're doing some Mannheim Steamroller, as well as the last 4 movements of the Corelli Christmas Concerto, and accompanying a choir on the Hallelujah Chorus. I expect the concert to be over a bit after 4, and by the time we get things torn down and organized, I should just have time to grab a bit to eat before I
put on my player's hat, and head 'across the river' (Canadian border) for our first full-out dress rehearsal for the Symphony's production of The Sound of Music. (No Messiah or Nutcracker for me this year!). Evidently the last rehearsal was a bit dicey, with the 'talent' being a bit stressed. Thus our start time has been moved back to 6. Being the first full dress, it will probably last until at least 10. By this point in time I'll be 45 minutes and a border crossing from home. It's snowy and blustery and cold here. IT may be a very long week. Dress rehearsals are slated for S-Tu, with performances on W-Sat. evenings. There is some talk of an added Sunday show if the other days all sell out.
So, this week, I'll teach my usual student load (34 students), with the exception of my 7pm and later group. Then, I dash across for the show. I do of course, have to make up the postponed lessons. After a solid week of long days and lots of driving, it'll be Sunday again... another week in Advent. The Christmas Eve service isn't finished yet...better find some time somewhere to do that....
I'll plug away at decorating and shopping, cooking and resting. This is what December is for many many musicians. And honestly, while I might appreciate fewer nights committed to the Symphony this week, I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. I am grateful that I don't have another sort of job. Exhausting, many hats...but, tis the season.
As a friend of mine from orchestra, who plays cello and flute in different groups, put it, music makes the season go by really fast, and takes away much of the commercialism. To me, this season is really all about the music.
I'm playing violin II in Elgar's "The Snow" this afternoon (in a church) and right now looking out my window at the first snowfall, still clinging to the tree branches. (While my 6-year-old, who is outside wearing his new snowpants, throws snowballs at the house Thud!).
This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.