36 Hour Concertmaster

Last week I flipped my calendar over to December.  I felt a pang of guilt as I read,

Thursday December 1st: Dress Rehearsal 7:30PM
Friday December 2nd: Symphony Concert 7:30PM.

You see, I began practicing with the small local symphony this fall and even made it through our first performance, but then we bought our house, we moved, we painted, we spent time with family, and life just happened.  Before I knew it, I'd missed at least four rehearsals.  I thought for sure they wouldn't want me waltzing in like that.  I decided to just wait until January to begin fresh again.  I was definitely going to have to miss my favorite concert of the year: the Christmas Concert.

Well, Thursday morning I got a phone call from the concertmaster.  She had an unfortunate family emergency to attend to and wouldn't be able to play in the Christmas concert.  She knew I had some experience "leading" an orchestra and asked if I'd fill in for her.  The concert was the very next night! 

"Uh, sure."  I replied.  "It shouldn't be a problem.  I'll just practice lots between now and the concert." 

What was I thinking?  I had less than two days to learn music the symphony (and choir) had been practicing for weeks!  On top of that, I was supposed to act as the leader.  That means I had to get it right: the notes, the rhythms, and precisely when to come in.  That's a lot of pressure.

Crazy thing is, I thrive under pressure.  I love it.  I love to play my violin.  And I love to perform.  The challenge is a thrill to me.  It's my niche.  Making music makes me feel alive.  And happy.  It's salve to my soul.  (Remember West Side Story?)

I turned on a show for Jed so that I could practice for a half hour without interruption.
This is what I found when I checked in on him.  Jed was snoring!

I consider myself a talented violinist, but not exceptionally so.  There are hundreds of other talented musicians out there, many of whom I competed with in college.  That thought makes me wonder where my fellow orch-dorks are today.  Where did they move to?  It would be so much fun to play with them again.  Aren't there other talented violinists in the valley that could act as concertmaster?  I can't be one of just a few.  Who are they?  I wish I knew.    

On Friday evening I dressed up in my fancy black and headed out the door.  I got a few miles from home when the headlights in my car suddenly went out.  It was pitch black dark out on those country roads!  What was I going to do?  I returned home and sped off in Bron's big truck instead.  I roared down the road at 70mph.  I was going to be late!  I was stressed and on the edge of freaking out.

I came clicking in as fast as I could in heels and made it just five minutes before the concert was to begin.  "Don't worry," they said.  "We wouldn't start without you."  Despite their reassurances, I was feeling anything but calm and put-together!

Well, needless to say, the show went on and it was a lot of fun.  It put me in the Christmas spirit!  As for how I personally performed though, I did okay.  I'm actually a little disappointed in myself.  I made more mistakes than I would've liked.  But I guess I ought to give myself a break--I did learn five pieces in about 36 hours.



  1. Wow, you are brave! That certainly is a lot to take on. I think that's awesome that you keep up with your violin playing. That's hard to do once you're out of school.

  2. Yikes, way to go. That would have been a living nightmare for me.

  3. Wow, you're amazing! Way to step up and take charge.

  4. good work--

    it's always fun playing in a group. Way to master the songs in such a short time though--that's definitely not my strong point. Keep it up--the more kiddos you have the harder it is to get to rehearsals.

  5. I miss my fellow orch-dorks too! There is just this special bond that only fellow orch-dorks can understand! Anyways, you are awesome, and they were so lucky to have you play with them!

  6. oh yeahh... well does jed know where pink milk comes from then? lolol. thanks jess, miss you lots :)

  7. That is so fun! It is fun to play now and then. What was all that practicing about, anyway? :)

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  9. Now you get to say you can learn 5 difficult pieces of music in 36 hours AND play it well! I bet you played better than most of the people who had practiced for weeks. You are bomb!


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