Vacation in the High Country

I am on vacation, visiting my family in North Carolina and Virginia this week.  Although I spent my early childhood in Chicago, I moved to rural North Carolina when I was eleven years old with my family, who still lives here.  I rarely get to enjoy the simpler, quiet  tranquility of the country, and I am so enjoying it.  Here are some pictures of my dad and I on his girlfriend’s farm – near where I grew up.

 

Boston Violin Gig for 80th Birthday Party

A few days ago I played violin for an 80th Birthday Party in Brookline.   The husband was 90 years old and the wife was turning 80.  They were so well educated in classical music and it was amazing how sharp the husband was.  He knew every composer and had interesting comments to make after each piece.  I mainly picked pieces by Bach and Vivaldi as well as the most seductive slow movements of the Brandenburg Concertos.  The couple had specifically asked for Vivaldi and Bach and I ventured into the darkest,  most haunting melodies of these pieces.  I was so happy to find that these slower movements that draw out emotion with every stroke of the bow were also these clients’ favorite types of classical pieces.  They listened while eating cheese and drinking wine , making for such a delightful evening.

Funeral in Methuen, MA June 26, 2012

A few days ago I got a call from a client, Mary, who said her father had just passed away after a long illness.  She wanted violin to be played at his funeral – as the violin is a special instrument to her.

When I showed up at the funeral home I met Mary for the first time.  She was so kind to me even though her world was falling apart.  It was a large Italian family – and Mary’s father was a big family man who put them first before anything else.  As I continued to play, I watched the slideshow with picture after picture of her father, who had kind eyes and was always smiling.  I found myself drawn into the loss that this entire family was enduring.

As Mary took the stand to speak about her beloved father, her voice trembled and tears streamed down her face as she spoke of her love for her Dad – who, as a young Italian boy, overcame many adversities, entering adulthood much too early in order to take care of his family.  She spoke of his devotion to his family and his unconditional love for his children.  As she spoke, tears began to well up in my eyes, as I could see the amount of pain she was experiencing.

I couldn’t help but think of my own Dad – and how much he has enriched my life – how precious it is to be someone’s daughter and to be loved beyond all limits.

I feel so honored to have been a part of this time of reflection and remembrance of a man who was loved so dearly by his family and who touched so many lives.

Marriage Proposal at Top of the Hub in Boston!

So, this past weekend I was hired to play solo violin (Pachelbel’s Canon – also known as Canon in D) for a marriage proposal.

My client had contacted me back in January to play this piece for the proposal, which was supposed to take place on Valentine’s Day.  However, a couple of weeks beforehand, he emailed me and told me that he would not need my services anymore.  My heart dropped for him – as I assumed the relationship had fallen apart.  Then, one day, a few months later he got back in touch and asked if I would play for the proposal again.  I was so relieved to hear that his plans had been postponed due to other logistics and not because there was a problem in the relationship.

This past Saturday was the day that he had been waiting for.  Here was the plan:  I was supposed to meet he and his (then girlfriend) at the bottom of the elevators leading up to the Skywalk and Top of the Hub Restaurant of the Prudential Center in Boston.  Of course, he would know who I was – but she would not have a clue.  His idea was to hand me the payment while the three of us were in the elevator (without her knowing) – although I had advised against this many times, he insisted it was a good idea.  Needless to say, I was a little nervous in anticipation of this entire encounter.

It was 5:15pm and I arrived at the Prudential Center to be at my designated spot.  Unfortunately, when I got there the security guards informed me that there were actually two sets of elevators to the Skywalk! I was waiting next to the basement elevators when I got a text message from my client who, of course, was at the other set of elevators.  I tried calling him, but since I was in the basement, I had no reception.  I decided to take a chance and go to the 50th floor to wait, hoping they would show up.

When they arrived they walked past me and he slipped me the payment while she was looking the other way…Not conspicuous at all!  I thought, “Whew!  That was close!”  As they began to walk down the hall of the observatory I frantically got my violin out of the case and tip toed behind them – trying to blend into the crowd – (a little difficult with a violin -).  He then looked at me and I thought “Should I start playing?  I don’t know if that was my cue or not! ” I waited a little longer.  When he looked at me again I decided I better begin.  So, I drew the bow across the strings and the whole floor of people stopped what they were doing to see what was going on.  He knelt down on one knee and she said yes!  The whole thing was completely worth the anxiety I had felt leading up to it.  At the end of 2 minutes of playing Canon in D they were engaged and were off to enjoy a romantic dinner at Top of the Hub.  I felt honored to be a part of this special moment in their lives.

Boston Jam Session

October Weddings

Autumn is a magical time for weddings.  It offers a vibrant, rich color splash, completely transforming the usual white wedding palette.

October has turned out to be a great month for weddings!  I have booked 5 weddings for this month alone, which I am extremely excited about.

For the first weekend in October I played two weddings (one on Saturday and one on Sunday).  The Saturday one was an outdoor wedding in Newton, MA.  The weather was beautiful and the ceremony was set for dusk.  They placed me under a beautiful pavilion which resonated the bellowing sound effortlessly with every stroke of the bow .  It was the perfect spot to amplify across to the wedding ceremony which took place down below in an uncovered space.

The second wedding was on October 2nd.  I was called to play this wedding literally a couple of days beforehand.  My boyfriend was so nice to drive me all the way to Meredith, NH for the gig.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was pouring rain and the temperature was in the 50s.  As luck would have it, it was still scheduled for outdoors.  The weather was so wet and gloomy that I was concerned both for the wedding party walking through muddy grass and for my violin which I cannot allow to get wet.  I was lucky enough to find a small space under a covered part of the Inn where I could still see everything.  I played for both the ceremony and the cocktail hour and the bride and groom, despite the weather, were in wonderful spirits.  They were very cheerful and so nice to talk to afterward.

Last weekend I played a quartet wedding with my best friend who also plays violin.  She and I played in a professional string quartet 5 years ago and she just recently moved to Boston and is also my roommate!  It was nice to perform with her again.  This one was outdoors in Brookline and the temperature was in the mid-80s!  I didn’t realize we would need sunscreen for a wedding in October…

When we arrived we realized that this was not the traditional wedding.  The couple had actually already been married and were re-affirming their vows.  This was so special – usually I get to see couples before the marriage even begins.  In this ceremony we witnessed a couple who were still so in love after years of being together and weathering the highs and lows of marriage.  We all felt honored to be a part of this ceremony.

September 3rd Wedding

So yesterday was quite an experience at my second Middletown, Rhode Island wedding.  I arrived an hour and a half early and went to Flos (again) for their hotdogs and fried clams…it was delicious.

When it was time to set up for the wedding I realized that the wind was incredibly strong – being right next to the water.  So I did my best to secure the music stand to the ground with my violin case and hold the music onto the stand with paper clips.  The music stand held (barely) – but my hair was plastered to my face the entire time. Needless to say, I decided to just play all of the music from memory –  closing my eyes rather than re-securing the music for each piece.  It was a great test for my memory!  The wedding went well though, and the bride was very complimentary and seemed pleased – always something I like to see : )

On the way home I stopped at IKEA to get some kitchen supplies – and I couldn’t resist the hotdogs at 50 cents each…making my total consumption of hotdogs for the day Four!  I think I will be eating salads exclusively for the next couple of days ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Wedding in Middletown, RI

Last Saturday I was in Middletown, Rhode Island playing the violin for a wedding at the Sweet Berry Farm.  I remember a couple of hours before the wedding eating lunch in front of this big Park and thinking it would be fun to hang out there after the wedding.  Well, today I realize that tomorrow’s wedding is actually at that same park!  It’s a small world.

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