“I don’t know if you remember,” says Lindsay, “but I sang for you once in a master class, at Westminster. CoOperative, like five years ago?”
I hadn’t thought of it, but at her prompt I immediately did remember. Five years seemed at once too short and too long an interval. But what a pleasure it was to connect the promising student in my memory bank with the plush-voiced, confidant woman at the piano. We tore into a bunch of Strauss, just one hour in a week filled with the gorgeous artists of the HGO studio (hot tip: sit back, opera lovers, there’s so much tasty singing and generous expression coming your way out of H-town).
What a week here, and oh how it messed with my whole experience of time. Fresh off of a life changing workshop in Charlottesville, MtMn and I headed next to Johnson City TN, where Jenny Cresswell and I revisited our recital from last September (hot tip: repeating recital programs is the literal best, how do we all find a way to do that constantly?) and I had the distinct pleasure of watching her lead a master class with challenge and kindness. Then we drove in one day all the way to Houston (thanks Kevin in B-ham and Ana Maria and Elena in BR for snacks and catchups!). The spouse has headed to the Hill Country for a bit while I make my last moves of the semester. This week was music, music, music, broken up by brief sleep and meals with as many friends as I could schedule.
I didn’t see everybody, and one thing I know after this week is that Houston is still a home, full of loves. But the city felt foreign to me too, in a way it hadn’t before. Nothing stays in place, right? I realized with a shock that I left Houston ten years ago. A decade! Since then, all of my friends here have lived through Harvey, and I’ve lived in three cities. So much has changed. I’m writing this in an old beloved coffee shop, and my 2009 Houston life seems touchable from inside this space. But of course everything is utterly different.
Turbulence continues in my little industry and in the world at large, and tests of our resilience are everywhere. For all whose livelihoods depend on people being able to leave their houses, the spreading coronavirus pandemic is a big topic of conversation. I wonder what would happen if I had to do a few weeks of coaching over Zoom. I hope it doesn’t happen for sure, but I also feel confident, seeing how people can figure out how to do their work and how to help each other. Every day, we’re trying to do exactly those things, work and help. We’re trying and failing and trying again. It’s daily practice.
It’s so lucky to be in a job that is about helping people do their work. And when their work results in sound from the heart, powerful and true, the world is improved by that beauty. One thing I am learning in this era is that it’s not enough to pass on information. We have to help each other be courageous. The world is also improved by that beauty.
Home this afternoon to the beauty in Cincinnati.
Back to work ❤️🔥