June 21, 2011

Overdue #1

I'd promised you all that I'd eventually get to the backlog of news that has been piling up in my memory, and also share some of the photos that have been accumulating in my iphoto folder, but even though my days have been almost blissfully serene for the last week or so, I've found myself becoming even more of a procrastinator.

So...let's see if I can give you the short 'n' sweet of it all...

Over Memorial Day weekend (yup, I really do have to go back that far) I performed in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble's final concert for the 2010-2011 school year. It was held at Millennium Park in the heart of downtown Chicago and featured a stellar compilation of many pieces we'd already performed on our 2 previous concerts earlier in the quarter, in addition to the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto featuring NU alumnus and current principal trumpeter of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Colin Oldberg.

I was nervously excited as I had some demanding parts with which I'd struggled all quarter, but I'd had a terrific lesson with professor Barbara Butler a few days previous that had injected some badly needed spark into my playing and I felt ready to take on the challenge. To top it all off, Rob had flown in for the weekend and proceeded to spoil me rotten with his affections...what could be better?

This is a view shot from the stage of the Pritzker Pavillion: the park's amazing concert venue designed in the late 1990s by architect Frank Gehry...

...and whose distinctive style is more apparent when viewing the stage from the audience's perspective...

To give you an idea of scale, to the right is a shot of some of my colleagues taking a break in between our rehearsal and the show. It's incredible to think about what must have taken place during the construction of such a building, and interesting to go behind its imposing facade to examine some of the supports that keep this wild explosion of a structure firmly in place.

It was actually something of a miracle that the concert took place at all. During our drive downtown Rob and I were pummeled with curtains of falling water and had to take special care to avoid the many lakes that had suddenly appeared along the sides of the road. Lightning and thunder was near constant and my stomach churned as I imagined being on stage surrounded by a mess of exposed electronics. As the afternoon progressed however the weather slowly improved...

...and by the time we finished rehearsing and broke for dinner there was hardly even a threat drizzle. To pass the time Rob and I took the opportunity to wander a bit--checking out some of the numerous works of art that inhabit the park and its surrounding neighborhoods.

By the time SWE took the stage and opened the evening's entertainment with Shostakovich's Festive Overture, the sun was almost peeking through the increasingly patchy clouds and a small crowd had begun to accumulate around the edges of the park. After the Overture, we played a wind ensemble adaptation of a Shostakovich piano prelude, the trumpet concerto, music from Wagner's Meistersinger, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, and (one of my personal favorites) the Symphonic Metamorphosis of Hindemith. The concert was a rousing success. I played better than I had in months--able to find a brilliance and spin in my sound that had been lacking since my embouchure alteration in January--and the rest of the ensemble sparkled with the thrill of performing together in such a fantastic setting.

The rest of the weekend was hot and muggy-mug-muggy! Rob was the best of sports to accompany me to the year end trumpet party hosted by professors Geyer and Butler at their home in the "woods." I bruised up my arms playing volleyball and he got a vicious sunburn on his head, but we were served some hearty chili (yes, that's right...HOT chili...outside...in blistering sunshiney weather), got to play with Charlie's conure (a medium size parrot), and had a generally agreeable time.

I said this was gonna be short...but...well I guess I'll just have to continue with the remaining updates tomorrow. In a moment I'll be heading over to the music building to play some duets/orchestral excerpts with my long-suffering duet buddy Rick, and then I hope to squeeze in another evening stroll along the lake shore before I finally settle into bed with an exhilarating summer read: Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass (the 3rd book of the trilogy His Dark Materials which I'm desperately trying to finish before I leave town and have to return my library books!). Selfish and lazy? Mmmmm...so what...it's my first summer off in 8 years and I DESERVE IT!

1 comment:

  1. Yes you do INDEED deserve this break!!! What a great blog!!! Have I told you recently how amazing you are??? You are so amazing that I just can't wait for your next blog,phone call,text or picture.1