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Into the Homestretch, Folks!

I can't believe we have less than three weeks until the concert!  It feels like I just got the call yesterday telling me I'm a finalist.  It's amazing how fast time is flying by with all this.

As you can see in the box below, my NPR interview from a couple weeks ago finally hit the airwaves last weekend.  It’s always kinda weird to hear my voice on the radio, but it is interesting to listen back and actually hear what we talked about.  We taped it "live" - meaning what you hear is unedited - so it went by a lot quicker than I realized, and was kind of a blur.

I was originally going to spend this issue talking about the first question asked of me during the interview, "How did you become a conductor?".
But instead, something more important has come up, and merits more attention.

It's always fun to talk with Sharon Gamble!  The interview went really well, and it's always an added treat to get notes from people all around the world who were able to listen online.


You can click over to The Art of the Matter's webpage to listen to the entire show, or click here to download it for free from iTunes. ("Released: 3/28/15")

Either way, my segment begins at the 10:10 mark.

Driven By A Passion For Playing Great Music 

One thing I've always appreciated about working with community ensembles is that there is never a lack of passion.  Regardless of who they are or where they spend their work day, everyone comes into the rehearsal because they chose to, not because it's their job.

Unfortunately, sometimes life becomes so hectic that playing with a group gets moved to the back burner, or off the stovetop altogether.  That was the case with my friend, Ericka Perron.
"[I] may have been almost dancing while playing."

Left: Ericka's view from the bass section during last night's rehearsal. 

I first met Ericka back in 2008, when I was getting the Circle City Chamber Group off the ground.  She was an associate at a law firm, and helped answer some questions.  It didn't take long for our conversations to turn towards music, and how she missed playing her upright bass (at the time, she was "getting her fix" by gigging on the electric bass with a local rock group).

Since finishing her studies at Butler University, Ericka had been busy with work, marrying a great guy, and being Mom to an adorable little boy - like I said, busy.  With all that, it's not surprising that making a regular orchestra rehearsal wasn't exactly making the Top 10 on her "To Do" list.  

"I've missed this so much. #HappyHappyHappy 
Rehearsed many things last night but particularly loved this beautiful second movement of Kalinnikov's Symphony No. 1 in G minor."

-Ericka's post-rehearsal Facebook post

This past summer, I created a small orchestra for local musicians and music teachers - the Indianapolis Music Teachers Orchestra.  We got together every Sunday afternoon, just to play through music.  Nothing too heavy, no long-term commitment.  Just a chance for teachers to put down the lesson books and do what they love most - playing classical music with other passionate musicians. 

Knowing how much Ericka loved to play, but also knowing how little time she had, I figured it would be a perfect fit for her passion and her time constraints.  No matter what the week threw at her, all summer we could count on Ericka lugging in her upright bass (which stands about 4 inches taller than her).  

And last night was no different!

Ericka is one of many examples of people who just won't let life get in the way of her love for music.  In fact, her reaction to last night's rehearsal - her first with the CSO - was the best surprise I could've asked for, and only learned of it this morning, in an exchange of Facebook comments on her picture from rehearsal (above):

Frank (our friend and esteemed colleague/composer): Good to have you back amongst us of the bass clef

Ericka: Thanks!! :) Not going to lie, Frank, I definitely got teary and may have been almost dancing while playing.  Haha Happy to be playing with a bigger group again. 

Ericka shredding on her second musical love, the electric bass.

As a conductor and as a proponent for music-making at any and every level, how could I not be overwhelmed with pride and excitement for this reaction?!  I'd be a fool not to consider this one of the highlights of the entire concert cycle.  This is what it's all about!!

Just as every other non-music professional that walked into rehearsal last night, Ericka was there "for love of the game" (to borrow a Kevin Costner line).  They do what they must - rearrange meetings, find babysitters, coordinate with spouses and family, etc. - to make sure they make it to rehearsal.  The commitment is truly astounding when you think about it.  

So, why am I talking about this?  
For you, the readers.  

Too many times, I meet people who tell me how they used to play an instrument back in middle school or high school, but then quit because it was either "not cool" or they were teased by classmates.  But every time I hear that, those same people tell me how they still regret having quit, and how they wish they could get back into it.

Guess what, folks.  It's not too late!!

Find a local community orchestra, find out what they need, and
get playing!  Even if it means standing in the percussion section and wacking away at the triangle or cowbell.  

Whatever, wherever, whenever... JUST PLAY!!!


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