Sunday, November 04, 2007
Lest we forget.
I have mentioned before that I used to keep Brunnhilde in my wallet. I found her in a newspaper many years ago. Sorry, I don't recall where, or who the cartoonist is - the series title was "Bent Offerings". She reminds me how very much I love what I'm doing.
Last night I sang a fun and frivolous program at a gala fundraiser celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hospice Thornhill. This is a very worthy, underfunded and underassisted thread of the social fabric. Our society is so deeply afraid of the whole idea of death that we go to great lengths in our denial, shunning this ubiquitous fact of life (which is, to the best of my knowledge, still a terminal condition) to the extent that in our haste to forget our own potential demise, precious little attention is paid to the needs of both the dying and those whose loved ones are dying. Except, that is, for the wonderful work and programs offered by hospices, their caregivers and volunteers. I was honoured to be a part of this wonderful event and I believe a lot of money was raised for this cause (I hope to find out later in the week).
I have two more concerts coming up whose subjects bear remembering (well, three actually, but one is a partially repeated program). One program for Holocaust Education Week is tomorrow night, then there's a concert with a preview of a lot of material from the Emily Carr project next Saturday, and another Holocaust Education program is early the next week. Both the Holocaust programs and the Emily Carr work contain vast amounts of contemporary music which is either brand new (composed for this event) or recent (mid-late 20th Century) and thus it's a lot new repertoire for me. I usually love this stuff - in one case, I actually chose the rep, so it's a self-inflicted challenge and I can't (shouldn't) complain! However, please induge me briefly - I need to get this out of my system.
It wouldn't be a problem, but I hadn't planned for a rather extended interruption in my learning curve (insert sound-effects of a major glitch here). I caught the nastiest flu and was out of commission from the last week of September for almost a month. Even after the first couple of weeks, when the worst of it was over and I slowly started to get better, I had absolutely no ability to focus, no concentration and no energy. About all I could do was sleep 14-16 hours a day to recover and watch a little TV when I was too tired to read. That whole missing month was supposed to be learning and practicing time, and I got nothing done. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Heck, I couldn't even knit a straight line, let alone grasp complicated new music.
For the past two weeks, with a few almost comically unpredictable lapses due to my lingering post-flu diminished stamina, I have been desperately scrambling to learn and rehearse all this new repertoire, dashing around the city and meeting with pianists, and altogether feeling quite pathetically overwhelmed by everything (except the aforementioned Thornhill Hospice gala, which was almost too much fun, comprised as it was of silly and fabulous musical theatre, some cabaret songs and "popera"). Adding insult to injury, all this frantic preparation for my current spate of musical engagements is even getting in the way of my knitting, the usual pressure valve and comforting soother of my frazzled soul (well, except for one day when I couldn't take it anymore and I played hookie to go and sit with Haley at Knitomatic and blissfully knit the day away).
So I decided to invite Brunnhilde back to visit here again. Because there's one thing I need to keep in mind when the going gets tough: No matter how difficult, hectic or stressful my musical life gets from time to time (and boy, it does!), I have to always remember that I am blessed to be doing something I love with my life and to be able to share it with others in meaningful ways.
P.S. for those folks seeking a summary of stitches: please stand by. There will be knitting content here eventually, sometime after the middle of the month. I hope. And if we can get the new camera battery to work, there might even be pictures!