band · clarinet · inspiring · random thoughts · reflective · retirement · travel · Uncategorized

Clarinet Symposium

Best. Weekend. Ever.  Or at least best weekend in a long time!  I’ve had a few good weekends here and there throughout the last few years but always with the knowledge that I had to go back to work once it was over.  This time, I could just enjoy the weekend knowing that I am officially retired and that it wouldn’t be necessary to face the stress of work once it was over. To quote Flashdance “Oh, what a feeling!”

This weekend was a gathering of clarinet players for rehearsals, master classes and recitals.  In all the years I’ve played clarinet (43 years already!!  I should be waaaay better than I am!) I have never taken the opportunity to attend such a gathering.  I didn’t realize how exciting it would be to be in a group of minds tuned to the same goal.  Ok, ok, the pun was intended!!!  But it will make me smile all day!  There wasn’t much practice time before our concert but everything was set up to work out just as it should.  A friend from the Huntsville Concert Band rode down and back with me and that was part of the greatness of the weekend.  It was honestly the quickest trip to and from Birmingham I had ever driven mostly due to the conversation we shared in the car.  A friend from the Madison City Community Orchestra was there as well and I enjoyed having someone to share the experience with.  We heard Daniel Gilbert and Richard Stoltzman and had master classes with both of them.  I left the weekend inspired to improve.  I think hearing great players lift you to another level.  This applied to the clarinet choir as well; some players were much better than I am and I played better than usual because of their influence.

This weekend went a long way in demonstrating to me that happiness is attainable again.  I feel like I have gone through the last number of years insulated from any type of joy.  Now I am beginning to thaw out and feel glimmers of happiness.  I say this with a sense of relief – I was afraid that I would never get past the depression that has choked me.  It is ironic that it took one of the most traumatic experiences of my life to break through my numbness…….

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