I’m Too Dumb to Come Up with a Good Title

Brevard Music Center is officially in full swing.  Everyone is here, the boys dorms smell like boy, and it has rained at every (in)opportune moment. I can’t say that I’m overwhelmed.  Or even just whelmed.  I’m busy, and well fed, but things haven’t hit a stride yet.  I don’t have any sense of normalcy.  I think I’m judging a poster contest tonight, and serving ice cream to high school students.  I’ve not done these activities before, and won’t do them again.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing tomorrow.  I have a feeling that I have something to do, but nothing is written down, and that’s my life.  It’s not bad, but it is sort of unsettling. I’ve enjoyed the last few days though; we checked in a bazillion high school kids, and I made a road trip up to Asheville to take a cello student and her instrument to a luthier.  Ysabel came with, and we stopped for coffee.  And bed sheets.  The cello student flew in from Turkey, and didn’t bring bedding.  As much as I love coffee, and Asheville, I think bedding would take priority. This afternoon I saw the Brevard Music Center Orchestra perform Theme and Variations on AWESOME.   Actually, it was Adagio for Strings, the Overture to Candide, and Copland’s 3rd Symphony.  Oh, and the Gershwin piano concerto.  It made me want to practice.  Or find someone to make out with. I would like a nap.  I aint gonna git one.  But no complaints; tired or no, this is a really good...

I Miss My Truck

I was out running yesterday morning, climbing the hills and easing down them, pacing myself for the next push, and enjoying the cool of the morning.  Brevard by day is hot, humid, and oppressive in its green brightness.  Brevard by night is cool and damp, and fragrant.  The morning is a great time to be out, and the scenery here takes my mind off of the stiffness in my left leg, and the taut burn-scar on my right. But yesterday as I crested the first big hill into town I was passed by a burgundy 1998 Toyota Tacoma, very similar to what I used to own.  I was passed by pickup truck after pickup truck throughout the morning.  Each one was loaded with tools, weathered but strong-looking men, and covered in morning dampness.  Nevermind that I had to dive aside for the lack of a sidewalk.  I was in full-on nostalgia. Another Toyota truck passed me later on, and I heard the driver shift the manual transmission just as he passed.  I heard that minute little click as the gears engaged and the engine roared back to the push.  I could practically feel the shifter knob in my right hand. What a rush that was, driving my truck.  Depress the clutch and grip the shift.  Slide it home and listen for a barely audible click as you roll on the gas.  Ease off the clutch as the engine gives out a satisfying roar and leans into your stationary inertia with 300 horsepower.  Don’t roll too hard or you’ll break loose and peal out.  Don’t pussyfoot either, because it’ll catch...

VIP

Ys and Erin went to get us coffee on check-in day.  They met a guy who owns half of the town of Brevard.  He bought them coffee.  Then provided them with VIP cards for the movie theater for the deans.  That means I can see movies for FREE. The cheapskate in me is very...

Brevard, Day 13

I’ve been here almost two weeks.  Whoa.  That happened fast. Over the past couple weeks I’ve hung out with the dean staff a lot; Michael, Erin, Ys, and Cale.  And I’m proud to say they are some of the coolest people on the planet.  I mean it, the whole thing.  The five of us together are like Voltron.  Except without the melding into a giant robot because THAT WOULD BE TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE FOR A MUSIC FESTIVAL.  We can do that on our own time though. The college division students showed up a couple days ago and auditioned for their orchestra assignments.  Today begins the rehearsals: Copland’s 3rd symphony begins at 10, and I plan on stopping in to hear the beginnings of an orchestra. Having more people on campus is weird, but very cool.  People are starting to busy themselves with the task of putting together monumental musical works, and the energy is starting to build.  Every morning there are people up early and running, practicing, doing yoga on the lakeshore…  I feel like I fit in; I’ve been up and running by habit, then warming up my horn and having breakfast.  Knowing there are other people around doing the same thing is…  comforting?  I’m not sure of the right word.  It just feels like this is how it OUGHT to be for a place like this.  It isn’t the real world, but just for a moment this is how everything is. One note though; before everyone showed up, I would run, shower, play my horn, and sip my coffee and slowly eat my oatmeal on my front porch,...

Crazy. Like Me.

I had a conversation the other night with a pair of oboe players.  I’m not sure whether they’re called “oboists” or not, but they do PLAY the oboe, so I’ll stick with the safe name for them. I was drinking some of my finest homemade ale and talking to them as they made reeds.  They are passionate, intelligent, and dedicated musicians.  And completely crazy.  There was a party going on around them, and they were trimming cane with razor blades.  For hours. That’s a level of dedication to “the job” that borders on obsession.  When it comes to chasing “the job,” I feel like a grumpy old man.  I don’t like the wacky emotional states that musicians get into, the lack of common courtesy or manners, job security, or even the sense that living paycheck to paycheck is the RIGHT way to do it.  I just give it one big harumph.  HARUMPH I SAY! I grumbled to them a little bit about how the culture is all wrong and how I can’t abide by the unhappiness and heartlessness of some people, and I think their eyes glazed over a little. And then I thought about when I was that age, and how all I wanted to do was make music.  I’d have given anything to get a gig, and I was willing to pour in the hours to make it happen.  And I’ve met with some success, but my REAL successes are due to my emotional and intellectual outlook, not my ability to play the little dots on the page better than others. And that’s where I’m stuck.  Because...