Saturday, December 03, 2011

Family on the Road

Hello again! I’m writing tonight from a hotel room in Dallas, where B and I are singing a Messiah tomorrow. B3 is asleep in his little hotel-provided crib and B and I are winding down after a roller coaster day. We’ve had amazing musical experiences countered with the down-to-earth realities of family life. Our heads are kind of spinning...

I wish I could have pulled out a laptop and written a post in the middle of rehearsal today; there were so many inspiring moments that I wanted to put into words! We soloists are placed on a raised platform in front of the chorus but behind the orchestra, and from that position we are completely bathed in the incredible sounds created by the musicians around us. Our fellow soloists are top-notch, and the four of us have really enjoyed working together, creating ornaments “by committee” and singing along with our favorite choruses. (Tomorrow during the performance we will have to sit and listen quietly, so we got it out of our systems today.)

B and I really haven’t worked together that often since we’ve been together, and it is nice to have our most trusted pair of ears right there to encourage and support us. I listen for things I know B will want to know about, and vice versa. We can exchange a look that tells each other exactly what we need to know about how we did. On breaks, of course, we put those looks into words, and take the other’s advice or encouragement into the next performance. I love it.

(NB: Soon we will get to announce that we will be singing together again! Sometime in 2013, and in an opera very near and dear to our hearts. Stay tuned...)

The conductor of this group was a Masters student at UGA when I was an undergrad, so he has known my voice from its early days of development. I was a music education major when we met, and he remembers telling me that I should consider switching to performance. His instinct was correct, it seems, for here I am, lo these many years later, making my living - and raising my family - in classical music.

No matter what your profession, it’s hard to raise a toddler. They are complex and constantly changing creatures, with so many needs - not the least of which is a relatively consistent routine. My poor little guy (PLG, as we call him); just when he gets used to things being a certain way, we up and relocate to Dallas or Richmond or Atlanta for a few days. We have several basic routines that we do our best to replicate - morning, bedtime, naps - but so much is different. Sometimes I feel guilty, sometimes I feel lucky (nothing entertains a toddler quite as much as a new place to explore!). And how do I know if his fussiness is related to regular toddler issues - teething, tummy problems, separation anxiety - and how much is due to a new environment? How do I know if he’s whining because his tummy hurts or because he’s still distraught from being apart from us today? B3 has been in a church child care situation while we’ve been here, and that has been brutal. He cries as if he’s dying both when we drop him and and when we pick him up, but he has a great time in between! I know it’s the sort of thing he would get used to if it was an everyday routine, but for now, for a short term arrangement, it’s just hard for all of us.

Tomorrow we will get dressed up a little early and go get our picture taken by the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby. Henry has a little one-piece tux that I can’t wait to see him in! I love having my whole family here on this gig; when I am alone in a hotel room in Hong Kong in a few weeks, I will remember this time and wish they were with me.

Even if it meant cleaning poop out of the tub.
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