all by myself

For many of you, this past week has meant no weekend with the Oregon Symphony to look forward to – at least not in Portland.  Why?  Because the OSO is doing its Community Music Partnership trip this weekend in Tillamook, Oregon.  Yes, home of the famous cheese and accompanying cows (along with tsunami warning signs and annual flooding).

I am not in Tillamook, as I was chosen by fate to be stricken with strep throat on Tuesday, and it has kept me down ever since.  The antibiotics are fighting a raging battle for my throat right now, and hopefully they’ll soon come out on top.

I’m actually quite disappointed not to be with the orchestra on this trip, as these mini-residencies are a good chance to bond with people in the orchestra and see beyond the usual peccadillos and irritants that become all-consuming at our home work environment by this point in the season.  It’s been a little strange to be here at home with just the cats to keep me company – my wife is a cellist who is playing with the OSO this season – just trying to keep my mind busy while my body suffers and recovers.

I know that the trip, if it’s like all of the others we’ve done over the years, will be a great success.  It’s so wonderful to see the joy in people’s faces as they listen to a full, live symphony orchestra – maybe for the first time in their lives.  The community musicians (both high school students and local adult amateurs) who join us for a couple pieces on the main concert (tonight in Tillamook at the high school gym) are clearly all excited and nervous, and butterflies are fully raging in their stomachs for sure – but they perform well and have a great time, and the orchestra loves to have them in our midst: it’s like a booster shot of pure enthusiasm for us jaded pros.

We depend entirely upon foundation funding for the whole CMP project, I hope that there will be funding for future years – it’s too good a thing to lose – but with finances being as tight as they are right now, there’s no money to spare from the OSO’s budget to cover any shortfalls from the foundations.  We shall see…

The orchestra will be back Sunday morning (the more intrepid folks with both cars and a high degree of impatience will be home late tonight), and then we start rehearsals on Monday for our penultimate classical series of the season, featuring Mahler’s Fourth Symphony and Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915.  Two of my favorite pieces – what fun!

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