This evening, my husband and I went out on “date night” to hear the Phoenix Symphony and pianist, Gabriela Montero from Venezuela, play a bit of Gershwin and Porgy and Bess. They played in Symphony Hall, of course–the same location (currently) of Arizona Opera. It was the strangest feeling to walk into Symphony Hall (run actually, because we were very late) and contemplate the possibility of rehearsing right there in another month if I am lucky enough to have placed in the study cover program. Perhaps I’m just a bit melodramatic, I’m afraid that it’s the opera singer in me, but how amazingly cool!
I suppose it’s best not to dwell on hope because you’re most likely to get disappointed. However, simply thinking about possibility brings me joy right now. It also helps to think about all the musicians up on the stage in human terms, “Hmmm…not a good choice for performance attire. He sounds as if he’s using a large bore trumpet. Did that bassoonist really just use a mute?! Do those even exist? Wow. Beautiful glissando. Whoah. A bit heavy handed on that phrase.” Etc. etc.
I do think it’s important, though, to visualize possibility as reality not YET actualized.
Indeed, there was a time when I adored graduate students and professors. Adored, as in worshiped in awe. I thought that they must be so dedicated to understanding Truth (capital T) and amazingly smart. I couldn’t imagine being in the upper echelon like them. Here it is almost exactly eight years since I completed my doctorate, and I’m quite disappointed to realize that it’s not all that impressive. It’s simply hard work. You pay your dues (and your tuition), take the classes, write about a hundred papers, read about a thousand books, talk people’s ears off, and there you go. Certainly, you must have a certain level of skill and knowledge, but in the end, winners are those who work hard.
So, I’m trying to remind myself that assuming I have an adequate skill and knowledge base, which I do now believe I have, then it’s all up to dedication and work ethic. This is a good thing because if there’s one thing that grad school taught me, it’s that I can slog through grunt work like nobody’s business. I’m also trying to remember that if this particular opportunity doesn’t pan out, I didn’t even know about it before Thursday, and up until that point, I was quite content with the trajectory of my performance career. I have lots of balls in the air with two upcoming concerts and a couple of upcoming recitals, regular rehearsals now with a great voice teacher, wonderful opera coach, and two excellent associate musicians, and participation in a new university opera scenes class. Life will continue regardless.
I read a great (and appropriate) quote today at, of all places, Wildflower Bakery & Cafe when I was having lunch with my daughter while shopping:
Here’s to hoping for tomorrow, my friends!