The Day the Orchestra Came

And so it’s stands….I’ve taken that leap of faith. Many of you know that I am deeply moved, touched and inspired by music. All kinds of music. When I say all kinds, I mean every genre you can think of. I have been known to go from CeCe Winans all the way to Metallica, mixed up with some Lady GaGa and good ol’ Frank Sinatra, only to bounce one more time to some old school rap like Whodini without skipping a beat in between. Many of you know that I dabble a little with instruments. You have not lived until you’ve heard me belt out one of my 3-chord-songs after a night of slinging back shots with Sammie! That is an event not to be missed! If anything, it will give you a good laugh which is a great thing to be remembered for!
Many of you also know that I have twiddled on the piano, playing just a little by ear….VERY little….I know a little about every instrument after tinkering around with a few here and there. I also know a little bit about the violin. Maybe I know a medium bit about the violin. When I was a young 4th grader, and I say young because I have a November birthday and started school when I was four, an orchestra came to our school and played for us. It was the first time I had seen any kind of live music. The only music I had really even heard was top 40 from the ’70s or country music.
The day the orchestra came to my school to recruit us into the strings program was a day that I will never forget. I was so impressed with the power, the emotion, the drive that these musicians played with. I had to do it….that was it I had made up my mind!! I WAS DOING IT! With the wind in my scraggly hair, running as fast as I could, all the way home I could barely contain my giddiness. I burst through the door with my permission slip in hand and announced to my mother that I was going to play the Viola! That’s right….the VIOLA. It wasn’t so high and squeaky like the violin, but it wasn’t quite as throaty as a cello. My mother signed my permission slip and it would only be a few weeks before I could hold that viola and make it sing! I couldn’t wait. I didn’t choose to play because I wanted to be famous. I didn’t choose to play because my parents strong armed me. I chose to play because I wanted something beautiful to come from me ….straight from my heart.
The first day of class was filled with students! To this day, I have never seen so many string players in one room! We were asked to make three even lines. We did. The first line got the cellos. Glad I wasn’t in that line! (though now I would love to play one!) Then the viola line. Wait…..I wasn’t in that line! My heart sank and I could feel the roll of the tsunami in my throat and the silent thud in my ears as I realized I was in the violin line! I rationalized my choice….maybe they will have extras, maybe I can sneak over if I just tip toe like this…”CRYSTAL GET BACK IN LINE”….crap. I folded my arms across my chest and lowered my head to sulk. The violas ran out. The rest of the people in their line had been moved over to my line. Oh great! Now I might not get anything! That was just the way things went for me. Disappointment, always left out, shoved to the back of the line, pushed to the side, kids cut in front of me and it made me really ….sad. I wanted to cry, but of course, I always cry so I better suck it up and just stand there and pretend to not care. My fear was then realized……I would not be able to have something beautiful come from me afterall.
Needless to say that is a pretty personal look into a very sad little heart. But in the end, I got a violin and I was grateful for having the opportunity to learn something no one else I knew could be better at than me! My fear ….was silenced.
Time went on, I practiced everyday. Most of the time willingly, sometimes begrudgingly. I took private lessons for three years but we moved a few times. That made it hard to find a teacher I clicked with. Believe me, that is crucial to how well you learn. At least for me it is. I like everyone, but not everyone likes me. I auditioned for county orchestras, played at the Kennedy Center in DC a few times with them and I did really well. I was no Itzhak Perlman, but I could hold my own! Over time, life happened, it became less important to me to play. I went into the Navy, had a child, then another, then another, then another (ok one is my step daughter lol) and there was little time for even a shower, much less an instrument! You can’t just …pick it up, fiddle around and be done in 5 minutes! It is a craft that has to be nurtured and studied. You have to feel what you are doing equally with mastering the technique and intricacies of reading music all the time while listening to the others around you. Anyway….I put it down completely. I left it there. In the case. In the dark. In the closet. Alone. And with it I left my safe outlet for anxiety, my inlet for serenity, my inner peace, my happy place that it always took me to.
The next fifteen years were a little dark for me. It was about the 14th or 15th year that my husband decided I was stressed out. I needed a hobby. I have no clue why he would’ve thought that, though. I mean hell…3 kids, sometimes four, all under the age of 10, him in and out to sea, and a long distance move to Iceland while he was deployed. This chain of events made me go a little bonkers one day with a hammer on the kitchen counter. Fucking counter….(for the family reading this…I apologize for my vulgarity)So Tim, in all his intuitive greatness, gave me an electric violin for Christmas that year. OOHHH EMMM GEEE!! Seriously!?!?!?! It was like that day the orchestra came to play! See…even though my music tastes span all genres…I’m really a hot rock guitarist trapped in a geeky violinists body! Not only was there an amp….there …were…distortion…pedals (I just fainted all over again)So what! So I like to play grungy stuff on my fiddle! I can play it pretty too sometimes! Since it had been so long since I had played, I really had to relearn everything from the beginning. It’s totally NOT like riding a bike! You WILL lose it if you don’t use it! As I began to play more and more, the feeling of peace and joy came back to my heart. If I had a bad day….I would play. Then I would feel better. If I had a good day….I would play and generally make more progress! It’s just the euphoric feeling that creating music brings to me. It’s nothing I can explain with simple words. I FEEL life through music instead of living it. Does that make a connection with you?
So this brings me to my point. I have just asked for lessons from Alex DePue – and if you don’t know who he is – shame on you – get to YouTube and search him. He is fantastic!! Truely a classical rockstar. You have to hear him to know what I mean. I would love to be able to perform again. Unfortunately, my stage fright and hiatus from the committment has relinquished me to performing for dust bunnies. Since I’m still in the re-conditioning phase of my journey, I am hoping that he can help me improve my technique enough to where I can again….have something beautiful come out of me. If through my music, I could only make you feel the way I felt the day the orchestra came, you would be able to see that I do have something beautiful coming out of me.

Thanks for reading!


One thought on “The Day the Orchestra Came

  1. Okay first and foremost, I have met your children so I know some beautiful things HAVE come out of you. However, if you you feel the need to make music I send you MANY blessings of support. You are a great person who has touched many souls through kindness so I hope you can "slap" some souls with your music! LY

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