I am snowed in. I came up this week to Muskegon to play with the West Michigan Symphony for the first time, and after last night’s rehearsal the blowing blizzard was just too much for me.
I am used to commuting in the Midwest. I’ve been through my share of white-knuckled drives, and I do not fear them. I can slow down and take my time, and I can creep patiently from mile marker to mile marker with my hazard lights on, and I have been in a few ditches and waited for help to arrive. I don’t fear this kind of drive, but nor do I welcome it. On Monday, after my two hour commute to work turned into three and a half, and after the snow continued to fall and blow in throughout our rehearsal, and after I confirmed that Steve was safely at home with Zoe, I chose to spend the night in the local Holiday Inn.
I didn’t have a change of clothes with me, or pajamas. I didn’t have workout gear for the lovely indoor fitness center. Had I planned to stay over I might have packed more food to keep from having to eat out, or cane to wind up more reeds - but in fact I had only the gear I had, and I made the most of my time by practicing all morning, finishing the in-progress reeds in my case, and eating lunch in the most delicious restaurant, Mia and Grace Bistro.
What a nice orchestra this West Michigan Symphony is! It’s two hours from home - on a good day - and there are a surprisingly large number of people here I didn’t know. Surprising because all of the Chicagoland orchestras draw from the same pool of players, so I see the same folks all the time and mistakenly perceive that I know ALL THE MUSICIANS that there are. But this gig is another couple of hours away from Chicago, and employs a whole different group of people. And they sound just great. The conductor, Scott Speck, has a really pleasant way of working with the chorus and the orchestra, and truly knows his stuff. It’s nice to be educated and satisfying to be asked to play well.
We are playing Carmina Burana - it’s a wonderful piece, and I have performed it many times and NEVER had as much fun as I’m having now. The tempos are quick and the group is responsive and the playing is stylish. What a treat! The concert is Friday night - if you are in the area at all then DO check this one out. Details HERE.