This week, I am thankful for an opportunity that I have been given: On March 25, 2007, just over one month from today, the Delta Winds (a conglomeration of members of the Stockton Concert Band, Lodi Community Band, Brentwood Community Band, and some very talented local high school students) leaves for New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, March 28, 2007! (Check out the iPod in the right sidebar featuring clips from past Stockton Concert Band concerts, or watch the clips of our performances in Hawaii in June 2005 on You Tube.)
I can’t quite believe that this will be (approximately) my view of the world for the brief time that I will spend there rehearsing and performing:
Here is a view looking down on the stage from the balcony:
That’s where my flute and I will be, along with the approximately 109 other musicians in our ensemble and our fabulous conductor, Arthur J. Holton III.
In Friday’s Feast this past week, one of the questions was, “What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?” My answer began with: “I could literally write a book about all the miraculous things that have happened in my life. I keep saying “I couldn’t make this stuff up” because it seems to me that my whole life has been a series of miraculous twists and turns amounting to a journey that is never dull.”
This upcoming trip and performance is another one of those miracles. Although I have been a musician for virtually my whole life, I have only been a flutist for three years. And in that short period of time, to be given a chance to play in one of the best concert halls in the world with a really fine group of musicians is nothing short of a miracle.
Have you ever had a momentous event in your life for which you spent a great deal of time planning, dreaming, preparing and anticipating? This is such an event and when opportunities like this present themselves, it is not unusual for people to say things like, “It is too much. I can’t take it all in. I can’t process it yet. I think about it and it doesn’t seem real.”
So it is in this case. Even while I sit here looking at those photos of the auditorium and type the words “I will be sitting on that stage playing my flute,” it just doesn’t seem real. In fact, if I think about it for too long, I get a knot in my stomach that is only rivaled by the one I experienced as I sat in the courtroom of the California Supreme Court with one whole section of the courtroom seating cordoned off for the media, most of whom were staring at my legal opponents and I, waiting for the justices to enter and oral argument to begin. I certainly hope that I don’t get the case of “dry mouth” I had that morning. I remember thinking, “I’m not going to be able to speak. My tongue won’t work.” But, of course, I did and, in fact, once I began, I actually enjoyed myself.
So I know that once I put my flute’s mouthpiece up to my lips and begin playing, I am going to experience a musical pinnacle the likes of which most musicians who, like me, earn their daily bread doing something other than performing, only get to dream about.
So I most certainly have much to be thankful for this day.
And now, I must sign off, get out my flute and practice because I have a rehearsal with my duet partner at one, followed by another with my wonderful fellow Carnegie Hall-bound flutists at 3:00 p.m.
Soli deo gloria!*
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