Sunday, May 06, 2007

simple pleasures

Musicians are fascinating people. When I judge a music festival, I enjoy the discussions, the give and take, the casual remarks exchanged with the other judges and the music teachers. For me, a former music teacher turned elementary teacher, it's a chance to renew old friendships and refresh my inner musician. It's a long day, a tiring day, but one full of pleasures, complex and simple.
Yesterday I was judging at one of the State level festivals. I woke at 5:15, showered, and hit the highway across central Wisconsin by six. With a 16-oz. hazelnut in my cup holder and a granola bar in my hand, I watched the road and the land of this beautiful home state of mine. The grasses were greener than green, a light wind was stirring the trees, and the small lakes and marshes looked peaceful as could be. I shared the road mainly with pick-up trucks pulling boat trailers to their favorite fishing holes.
Traffic and excitement picked up as I entered the college town that was my destination and joined the school buses full of kids and instrument cases converging on campus. This excitement, this positive energy, has become one of my favorite parts of any festival. These teenagers are the best of the best: the students who earned a starred rating at their district festival. They take pleasure in performing and listening to others all day. The mood, the crowd, the pure momentum spread like the Wave at Lambeau Field. (Sorry for the sports metaphor. It is Wisconsin, after all.)
The feelings and passions of the day lasted longer than any specific performance. The chats with students after they sang, the teachers who asked how my day is going, the parents who expressed their thanks for my spending a Saturday with their children. The enthusiastic teacher who, too hyped to sit and wait any longer, asked if she could play the piano in the room for a few minutes, then treated us to a fabulous medley of classic Gershwin tunes.
These are the pieces that accompanied me on the road home. I drove in relative quiet, no radio, and hummed a few of what we call "24 Italian hits" and the other vocal standards as I joined the buses and pick-up trucks returning to their own homes.
Then I collapsed on the LoveSac rocker with Amigo and watched the Hot Dog beat the Chorizo in the sausage race followed by the Brewers beating the Pirates. Simple pleasures, indeed.

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Anonymous Jodi said...

Oh, was this for Solo-Ensemble?! (I think that's what it was called.) I remember taking part as a junior high and high school student (violin), and it was always so exciting when I made it through to the state level and went to the competition in Madison.

Fond memories.

I've never taken part in the wave at Lambeau, but I know all of the UW hockey crowd traditions! :)

5/06/2007 1:43 PM  
Blogger la bellina mammina said...

hi - dropped by via Scribbit. Enjoyed reading your blog. Have a great week!

5/06/2007 10:15 PM  
Blogger mcewen said...

Simple pleasures are generally under rated.
Best wishes

5/07/2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger scribbit said...

Love music and love live music in particular.

Outdoor concerts are so fun.

5/08/2007 12:00 AM  

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