Recovering, and Who to Root For

The con­cert went well, although I’m frus­trat­ed with my many errors. More about that a lit­tle lat­er. First, about the venue: I had nev­er been in the Muse­um of Anthro­pol­o­gy, and although I had seen pic­tures and even some movie scenes, I was real­ly not pre­pared for the grandeur of the place. The main hall, where we set up our instru­ments, was a huge space, hous­ing sev­er­al enor­mous pieces of abo­rig­i­nal art. The build­ing was entire­ly glass on one side, behind us, look­ing out on the Pacif­ic. Near the end of our dress rehearsal, the sun appeared for one of those salmon-pink Van­cou­ver sunsets.

A few hours lat­er, at the con­cert, we got a large crowd and they were atten­tive and applaud­ed enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly. They sat on the floor near us (as we were) as well as in seats a lit­tle fur­ther back. They ranged from young kids to seniors. In many ways, it was one of the best con­cert venues and crowds I’ve seen in years. As to the per­for­mances, it was all a bit ragged, but the dra­ma of the pieces all worked well. Some of the best moments were our end­ings, which all seemed to come off well. In some ways, that’s the best an ama­teur ‘com­mu­ni­ty’ ensem­ble can get to.

As to how I did, well, I played far bet­ter in rehearsals (and there were many of them). Part of the prob­lem is that by the time the time of the con­cert arrived, my back was so sore from all the rehears­ing, load­ing of instru­ments on the truck the night before and unload­ing that day, that I was in a fair amount of pain. It was enough pain that I had trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing. I’m not mak­ing excus­es, but I have to admit that for the first time, I actu­al­ly ran into a phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tion in per­form­ing. That’s some­thing that I don’t remem­ber hap­pen­ing before. The body changes in the years between 30 and 45. I’ve also nev­er been a per­cus­sion­ist, and that is demand­ing phys­i­cal­ly; prob­a­bly hard­er on the back than the piano or con­duct­ing. I’m not going to give this up quite yet, but I’ll take it as a warn­ing. I’m almost recov­ered now, so I know the dam­age was­n’t per­ma­nent. Just some aching mus­cles from too much con­cen­trat­ed activ­i­ty. I believe we’ll try and record the pieces of the con­cert. I’d look for­ward to that, as I know I can do better.

The Olympic Medal Count
Today the news report­ed that Cana­da has won a record num­ber of medals, and should be assured of at least 20 before the end of the games. That means they are tied for 3rd in the world. They’re only 1 behind the US. These days, when I hear peo­ple chant­i­ng ‘USA, USA!’ it almost seems like a joke — just anoth­er exam­ple of the jin­go­is­tic, self-cen­tered coun­try I fled. I also love the idea of the under­dog win­ning (is that an Amer­i­can trait as well?). Will I be out there chant­i­ng ‘Cana­da, Cana­da!’? Prob­a­bly not, but I can’t help feel­ing a lit­tle pride that my new­ly adopt­ed coun­try is show­ing the world that they can also pro­duce great ath­letes. Let’s hope anoth­er dop­ing scan­dal does­n’t sour the whole thing, as it did years ago.