The review posted today of Thursday night’s downtown event for LiNK pushed some buttons beyond the political, and served as a reminder of another issue, particularly important for all classical musicians, and especially those with busy and/or long careers.  Please bear with me for a brief ponder:

Coming to a community-based concert at a rented Disney Hall is a bit of a surreal experience, but one very worthwhile.  People tend to be either more dressed up or far more casual than usual, almost eliminating the fashion middle.  There tend to be more kids running around, and even the adults are looking around in wonder, causing a heightened need for everyone to watch where they’re walking as they meander through the lobbies and gathering areas. But events like this, those that bring a broader audience into what can be mistaken by hallowed halls for art lovers along, remind this overly seasoned pro of the joy of the Big Concert, the newness that can still be found in the audience experience, and the wonder that overtakes people who aren’t already daily surrounded by the power of classical music. That simple, unabashed wonder is something we tend to lose after years and years of professional endeavor in the field, and that is truly a pity.

So there I sat, surrounded by people who come here rarely, who are intoxicated by the glamour, the artistry of the space, the excitement of the event, and it reminds me how we must constantly strive not only to find that for ourselves, but to inspire it in the audiences we have not yet met.  Perhaps this is wistfulness in the face of our own concert series, which starts this Sunday. I don’t mention it as a meaningless or hubristic plug, but in solidarity with others who earnestly create events for the sheer joy of the music. Just as Thursday’s concert was an effort to bring people together through Mozart, and in the name of a specific cause, unSUNg is our effort to bring musicians and many others together, through music that is yet unfamiliar.  (There could be a Mozart in there somewhere — you’ll just have to come hear these works for yourself, and figure it out.) But that bridging of differences is a crucial common goal.

In the same way, attending any event that revels in the pleasure of what we do is a necessary tonic for the creative spirit that can be so easily squashed in the neverending chores, practice and performance of the same music over and over again.  Make sure you’re going to events occasionally, just to enjoy the music. The lesson for us all is simply to find your bliss in the work we do, and for each of us to do the work that follows your bliss. While that concept has nearly become a cliché since Joseph Campbell hit us with it decades ago, its truth is undiminished.  As artists determined to remain passionate and creative, we must be unfazed by the grind, and to renew our own feeling for the masterpieces that we perform.

Jump for joy a little this week.

It’ll be easier to share that joy in your next performance. Happy gigging!

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