I woke up today and had this odd, very abstract notion that it was to be a momentous day. I had no idea how or why or if I should trust such an instinct, but it was there nonetheless, and I tried as best I could to stifle it and tend to my aching limbs.
Rehearsals have been an absolute marathon these past 48 hours, and I've hated the inability for my shoulders and arms to heal from Sunday's dance capades. But I took it easy today, played what I could, made some mistakes on Stamitz because my fingers were rendered immobile from over-playing, but I knew that all I needed was a restful afternoon.
And so I went home and slept. I laid on the couch and crashed for nearly two hours...deeply and tightly cocooned in my beloved red fleece throw. I suppose showering occurred thereafter...I polished Lynda, and she shone gloriously. Strings were rubbing alcohol-ized and sounded like new. I shadowed through a few of my problem areas, fought severe hunger pangs with a portion of a chicken salad sandwich and strawberries, plugged my ears when Mom told me that even more people were coming, and tried to keep myself composed.
Jane came at six, and Brian, Mom and I caravanned with her to Weber. Dropped off by Mom, wrestled with the box of newly obtained carnation corsages...I sought my soul mates within where I figured they would be: upstairs in that back warm-up room. I played through most of my cadenza, and it actually sounded how I wanted it to. The problem areas worked themselves out under my fingers and I felt a sense of calm wash over me. Jess felt little anxiety as well, though we both desired a similar state of Zen.
I couldn't believe it, but Shannon made me this wonderful good luck sign! It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, and I love that girl to death-- she has been the best stand partner and friend in orchestra that I could ever ask for! I owe her for all the page turns, truly. We were all very bubbly...I went on a wild goose chase for stray seniors, attempting to pierce them with corsage pins...Aya practiced ardently in that same room...the poor girl was giving herself a heart attack, though we all told her that she would be fantastic...there was really no way around it. I see shades of myself in her to be honest...just in the fact that we are both so driven, and perhaps a little overly perfectionistic...I've seen that especially in rehearsals...she is so incredible but can't always see it. Another girl I love.
I suppose Greyhound and Concert went fairly swiftly. I can't be certain of the time; it was a rather whirlwind affair. I don't remember much of the concerto grosso...oh, James came in early for the second movement, and I was incredibly outraged for like ten seconds because it basically effed up the first half of the song, but whatevs. Jess' went fine; I was sort of distracted...when the final measure came, I was like, woah, um, that would be...me...
Again, unusually calm. No shaking. No trembling knees, despite the poor choice of man-hunting heels. The kind sir opened the door to the stage for me and I just sort of went out, ready to tackle and perhaps even enjoy it. The night that's been on my mind since October. None of my music slipped off the stand on a waft of air, and I had it all perfectly in order. I didn't feel the audience at all; there was no pressure on me, I felt detached in the best of ways. Like it was just me. And so they started.
And those 70 measures are my godsend, for I had ample time to acclimate to the music, to become settled on stage, and to take in the scenery. And when they ended, I entered and the rest is sort of history.
Who knows, there may have been a measure or two of off-ness, I can't even recall specifics, but it quickly evaporated with the absolute nailing of the parts I dreaded most. Laurie was right; no one knew what it was supposed to sound like. I'd have to say it was the most enjoyable musical experience of my life. Seriously, you just don't even know until you're there. You don't think you can do it until you're out there, doing it, and doing it the way you were meant to. Ahhhh!!!! I was so thankful for those moments up there...truly! Again, I guess I don't have the words for it. God and the angels, Rachel included, were certainly within that hall tonight, I've no doubt about that. The cadenza was like breathing for the first time. It was free and comfortable and thrilling...
It made me love those sterling darlings more than ever for being there with me throughout, for believing in me...and when Dad brought that amazing bouquet I became really close to tears and I just wanted to burst out crying-- I don't even know what emotion it was that I felt, but it was sublime.
Of course, Nothing Else Matters made me want to close my eyes and float on a cloud, because it is just that amazing. Maddie is another loved one. I do hope she's president. People will listen to her and look up to her, I have no doubt about that.
The rest of the compositions went by quickly...faster than I'd anticipated. Soon we were ushered backstage...rip off scarves, re-pin corsages, gather symphony music...
Ian's piece was soft and tres francais, of course. He did great.
And then of course was the moment I'd been waiting for all night: the Vieuxtemps.
There was so much thrill in my heart through that first page that it nearly crashed and plummeted Aya missed her entrance. The poor prodigy had unnerved herself into a memory lapse, and I felt my heart drop into my stomach at the measure marked "solo". By the grace of God and those angels, though, she was able to leave it behind and play the rest with everything she had. If you didn't think she was absolutely jaw-dropping, then you obviously don't have much of a soul. Nothing less than a standing ovation was appropriate.
As if the night wasn't surreal enough already, the NSOA and Rachel Bonzo awards followed the three concertos. The typical dallying and description of the award led my eyes to stray to the NSOA certificate as Mr. Eskola pulled it from a folder. It was too far away to read, but there was a brief last name that I could see, and I felt immediate alarm. Who has a short last name? Who has a short last name besides me? Surely, it's not me. No one would've voted for me. And so I thought this until the moment when he called my name, and Mom's gasp was so loud that everyone jested about it later.
I'm telling you: complete, utter shock
Seriously, who would've voted for me?
But then when I sat down Shannon turned to me and said, "I voted for you"
and I turned around, and my section had a similar reply.
I have never been so moved in my entire life.
So when Colleen went to do the Rachel Bonzo award, I sensed exactly what I'd hoped for.
And when she turned to Sarah and said her name, I went nuts.
Of course she bawled; it was so completely understandable.
To be honored for the memory of her best friend.
I don't think it gets any better than that.
I guess there isn't much more I can say that would do the evening justice. I'm still sort of floating; we all are.
I ran to Sarah backstage, saying, "I voted for you!" and as we hugged she echoed the same thing to me.
Everyone was in jubilant spirits, and I just sort of walked around in a daze.
And I realized, at once, that all the pain, all the blood, sweat, and tears...the loss of Jones...the loss of Meredith, Emily, Ellen and Joe...Eskola's intolerability...without these seemingly tragic obstacles, tonight would've never happened. It simply would not have been this way. And I've been wondering since the day I learned of his departure two years ago now... why? It's so unfair. But I can't cry anymore, because it came together in a surreal whirlwind of perfect destiny, I guess you could say. Everything in the past two years has been destined for tonight. The momentous notion I felt this morning was not merely wishful thinking; it was true beyond anything I'd ever expected.
I went home with the intention of staying there but felt the need to go out with everyone else to Perkins and celebrate. So I did. And there were about 18 of us. And we are really quite the picture of young ladies and gentlemen. I'm going to miss them all so terribly. We spoke of callbacks, which are next Thursday...and we're so getting pink sweats for the guys that say "sterling stud" on the back. That'll be way exciting.
Quesadillas are excellent when you haven't eaten much all day.
And two other good things that happened today:
1. invitation to honors night (NSOA + ?)
2. acceptance into Great Con letter!
I need to thank Laurie, Bill, Mom, Dad, Brian, Dave, Jane, Teri, Julie, Kamie, Javie, Karen, and Sophie for coming tonight.
It meant everything to me.
You know why?
Because that is my world.
To share it is exquisite. Thank you for listening and believing.