If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On

As I write this, I’m sitting quietly on the flip side of a loooooong weekend of music. We do concert weekends twice a year with the group I sing with, and as much as I love the people and the art that we create, it’s a draining time both emotionally and physically.

This concert was particularly difficult, both in terms of the technicality of the music and the depth of the material. We sang Faure’s Requiem in its entirety, which is an incredible piece of music. If you have never heard it, I recommend getting a glass of wine and devoting the time to a full listen. If Heaven is anything like he paints it to be, I can’t wait to end up there.

(HA. I’m so driving the bus to Hell, it’s not even funny. Ahem.)

We also performed excerpts from Donald McCullough’s “Holocaust Cantata.” This work is a series of readings and songs that were transcribed from collections at the Holocaust museum. There’s no plot, but each selection shares a different time and point of view in the Holocaust experience. The audience was profoundly moved by what we were able to present, and each performance proved better than the last.

It was a musician’s concert.

That said? It was rather difficult to keep my energy “up” through the whole thing. Typically during a program, there are pieces that are “eh,” and pieces that I love and can’t wait to share with the audience. As much as I adore the Faure as a work, it is LONG. And difficult. It was also the first half of the concert, meaning that after we braved our way through the beast of a masterwork, it was on to the second half. Times 3.

This weekend, more than ever before I was extremely grateful for the relationships that I’ve formed with members of the group, as I found my motivation in them.

First and foremost, there was the admiration that all of the women in the choir had for the cello soloist who was performing with us. I was acquainted with him from my college years, as he was a faculty member at my University. And all of the girls there practically salivated over him.

img courtesy of the Williamsport Symphony

When our director informed us that he’d be joining us this spring, I couldn’t help letting loose an involuntary squeal of excitement. When the group looked at me questioningly, I brushed it off with a “Oh, he taught at my college,” while desperately hoping they couldn’t see me blushing.

The verdict was quite unanimous as he joined our group last week and started practicing. I can’t pin down what it is that’s so charismatic about him, as he’s really very humble and quiet. He doesn’t come across as snooty, despite being in demand and a member of a Grammy-nominated trio. It may be the obvious feeling that he puts in the music- the cello is an excellent instrument for this, cradled as it is between the musician’s legs.

The younger women all offered to help him dress before the concert, “for the good of the group.”

The older women chuckled as he referred to his cello as his “mistress.”

“He already has one mistress, why not a harem!” one boldly piped up.

I showed Danielle a picture, and she claimed she couldn’t see it. Same with Mom. However, my dear bff Katie came to the show, and texted me “GAAAAH CELLO BABIES!” at intermission, so clearly I am not entirely delusional.

I realized that by keeping my eyes open for versions of love, I could see it all around me. Even as we prepared for a concert that celebrated “Remembrance,” people unconsciously acted out other themes.

Our director playfully rolled her eyes as her husband added dramatic flourishes to his solo during the program each day.

Our harpist called out “Thank you, Sweetie!” after her husband made a slight adjustment to her set-up.

My best friend, popped up like a prairie dog from the row where she was sitting so that I’d know she had made it to the concert on Sunday.

Army Boy and my Mom chuckling in their seats as the cellist was introduced, knowing my admiration for him. And nearly choking on a giggle as my friend Kat mouthed “busted!” across the choir to me.

Through it all, Army Boy was my rock. He was ready with ideas for dinner, eager to do laundry or take care of ironing. Even though he’s never performed, he’s supportive and understanding moreso than any of the other “music guys” that I dated in the past. He did all of this in between visits with his army buds, and taking his mom on the daunting quest of picking out an MP3 player.

He came home with the new Nora Roberts “Bride Quartet” book for me in lieu of flowers, knowing that I’d love to catch up with the characters and spend some quiet time unwinding.

After my last concert, I came home to find everything done, and we were able to squeeze in a couple of hours of “date time” before the weekend ended and the everyday grind resumed.

Choosing to see the signs of love and affection when I could have let myself get overtired and overwhelmed made all the difference this weekend. I saw joy where there could have been routine, and hope where I could have been dwelling on death and sadness. This isn’t to say that I was unaffected by our program- more that I WAS affected and sharpened my focus on life.

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4 thoughts on “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On

  1. As someone who loves music but has no inherent musical talent, this was such a great recounting of what your love for music is all about, and I love the tie-in of feeling that love and seeing the joy and choosing NOT to see the exhaustion.

  2. Um, he’s yummy, I think.

    And I love this post of yours. Lovely. You have a lovely spirit, even if it is driving the bus to hell…

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