Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wagnerian moment

     I'm so tired!  I have spent the last three days playing Wagner's Overture to Tannhauser, Venusberg and Siegfried's Idyll.  And then some very fast Verdi. Oh, and going to the first rehearsal and finding that I had been moved up to asst. principal, one of the hot seats.  Egads!  I suppose if I was young and concertizing every week this would not be a big deal, but I don't fit either of these.  Following the concert last night  I'm not feeling well.  I wonder why...?!
     This continues tomorrow when  Kenosha Symphony will perform two 5th grade concerts, preceded by a 9:15 AM rehearsal (too early for my aging body to be tackling Wagner). The program won't be as challenging; the only repeat Wagner will be the Tannhauser Overture.  We will, however, also perform a shortened version of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.  I ABHOR playing that thing.  It makes me cross-eyed!  Enough said.
     I am chugging capsules of Doterra essential oils in hopes of beating whatever bug I am fighting.  It seems to be working so far.  Hopefully I will be ready for more laps in the Wagner marathon.  I love these oils....they have saved my bacon a few times!
     Wagner is physically challenging to play, but in spite of that, it is a fabulous experience.  One word comes to mind. Gargantuan.  The orchestra is huge, the sound at times is huge, musical shapes  and lines are long.  Harmonies shift like the turning of gigantic vehicles.  Being in the midst of this is like being in another world, one that is unbelievably lush, beautiful, and magical.  I wonder if it is akin to the music of God.
      I suppose I will continue to perform Wagnerian opportunities that come my way.  The benefits outweigh my aging body!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Quote from General Conference

     "Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merrily sit in the darkness waiting for someone to flick the switch." -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 
     I love's from a talk during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a member (talks were this past weekend and can be found at

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Music Nugget 57

     I would like to share a video performance of two movements from Vaughan Williams' Suite for Viola and Orchestra.
     The violist, Maxim Rysanov, plays beautifully. The opening movement is played lovingly with some exquisite moments.  I think he is in love with this piece!  So heartwarming as this particular composition is rarely performed. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


     While checking Facebook I found this beautiful YouTube video.  It speaks of children and the role of parents ( ).
     When I was growing up I assumed I would marry and have children.  All girls did that then.  I ran, played horse, took dance and violin lessons, played Queen of Venus, and never touched dolls until I was about 8 or 9.  That doll was Barbie, and I was in it for the clothes.  I had no interest in playing mother or being one; I was a bit of a tomboy.
     During the seventies social issues  took hold on me.  I thought it made good sense to limit the number of children I had, if any, to one or two.  It made sense to me to live with someone before I married him; it made sense to me to try something out first and see if it fit.
     Soon thereafter I learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and decided to be baptized (see post entitles The Gift).  I transferred to BYU and began to live a different lifestyle and desire marriage and a family.
     That eluded me while at BYU.  I learned and learned,  took up the viola, and switched my science major back to music.  It felt right to me; this was my path.
     My music path has been filled with struggles to practice and discipline myself.  My knowledge that this was the right thing for me pushed me along.  At age 30 I entered graduate school and finally got my act together, so to speak.  In the midst of that I met my future husband.  By that time I was in my mid-thirties and wondered  what motherhood would be like, if even possible, and how I wold juggle my viola duties.  To maintain a baseline of playing ability I had to keep up my viola, especially at my age.
     All of this takes faith. You do what is right.  In my case, I was able to have three healthy boys, finish my dissertation eventually, and keep my hand in the viola pot (I also have a very supportive husband!).  I marvel how I was able to do this; ah, how long youth seemed!
     Motherhood grew on me.  I never considered myself the mother type, but it just became part of me. When I recently became a grandmother I wanted nothing more than to run away with my husband and be near her.  Motherhood brings joy.
     I worried about my viola. Around age fifty I began to have some physical issues that affected my playing.  Issues in my life related to children and finances took precedence over my body at that time.  I knew I needed help but it would have to wait.  When the time was right I was blessed to find the perfect teacher for me just 15" from my home.  I look back and marvel at this. He knew what to do and I complied, changing my technique so I could continue.  I was able to do it, and now I can play physically challenging music with very little arm trouble. At my age this is big; in fact, it is miraculous!  In some ways I play better than in my youth.  Who would have thought??!!
     My viola experience is a testimony to the importance of motherhood.  I exercised faith that God's way was best and I have been very blessed in the process.  My children have brought me more joy than any amount of worldly success.  The sacrifices-time, focus, effort and putting the needs of others above your own-are an investment that brings eternal rewards. 
     I know that children  bring heartache at times.  I also know that people can change and that life goes on beyond this one.  Life is about change, and it continues.  If we are separated from loved ones there is always hope for reunion and healing, even if it's in the next life.  I have been blessed with good kids so far, but one of them had brushes with death.  I guess I know a little bit about that. I guess I just wanted to end by stating that there is healing and hope available.  It's never too late!

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.