The Tuscarawas Philharmonic performed its first concert of the season over the weekend, and I played second horn. We opened with Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man and received plenty of "bravas" at the end. Then the strings joined us for Copeland's Lincoln Portrait, a spirited and beautiful tribute to Abraham Lincoln that incorporates a narrator telling basic facts and quotes. Originally, the narrator was to be a local politician who was recently elected, but he couldn't make it. His stand-in was an announcer from a radio station, and the guy was perfect after only one rehearsal. I seriously doubt the other guy would have been as polished and professional at the microphone, and I doubt his voice would have been made of velvet.
After the intermission, we performed Brahms' 1st symphony, a bear of a piece in that the music was more like a book. My part was over twelve pages with very few breaks, and I loved every beat of it. The horn section was shuffled around a bit because our principal wasn't able to play, and we ended up with a substitute for the third part. The new guy was the nicest man, Mr. Rogers in a plaid shirt, and a seasoned horn teacher from a college not far away. The poor guy had a few glitches in the first half of the concert and beat himself up over it for the rest of the evening. Every musician has good days when you know a part or can play a rip or hit a pitch without missing, and then there are the days when you couldn't hit the side of a barn with a b-flat. So, no one in the horn section or anywhere else on stage was fuming at the guy. He hardly wrecked the evening.
What struck me was not that he made mistakes but that he, even in his older years and even with his experience, said the same things I say when I screw up. He was just as neurotic and just as self-deprecating. I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be about that—honestly, I am just as bad, but I have learned to keep my "I suck" comments to myself a little more often than before. I always thought I'd lose that as I got older and gained more experiences. I suppose there are just certain insecurities and ways of reacting to personal disappointments that don't fade with age. I kind of like knowing that, that in twenty years I might still have the same need to achieve something as close to perfection as I can get, be disappointed and embarrassed when I don't achieve it, and be willing to work harder the next time.
Debra at From Skilled Hands has asked that I link to her site and let my local readers know there will be an art fair in Peninsula, OH from December 6 through January 10th, and the proceeds will go to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. You can find out more about it at her site and at www.cupofkindness.net. Small Town's foodbank works in cooperation with this larger supplier, and most of its food comes from their warehouse. Just so you know.