Wednesday, December 7, 2005

What I learned yesterday

I learned two important lessons during the course of the day yesterday that we all should be mindful of.

Lesson #1: Never be a passive participant in life

I took a cab to work because I was running late. I gave what I thought were clear directions and gave a particular direction to my location and I assumed that the driver would find it without me going, "Turn right here." Well I was wrong. I chose to let myself be distracted by various thoughts instead of making sure that the driver was taking the correct route. As a result, I ended up being late for work, when I normally would have made it on time with time to spare. There are times that I worried about being too much of a "backseat driver," but I was shown clearly that when you lose focus, you lose out.

Lesson #2: Be Careful What you Wish For Because You Might Just Get It!

I have particpated in a local chorus for about 6 years. I have had my ups and downs with it. This semester was challenging because of work and other competing interests. It was also challenging because of the music, which I mostly did not connect with this time around and the choral director and the chorus, which I also did not connect as much with this time around.

I did not go to the first two rehearsals since I did not intend to participate this semester. The choral director sent out an email and mentioned that she wanted me and I decided to give it
one more go. The director mentioned sometime ago that she did have an attention span problem which would rear its ugly head at times and try my patience. I am sure that my work schedule tried hers since my flexibility changed from when I first began working with her from some flexibility to "I can come on this date, this date and this date..." I also suppose it was hard for me to still to transition from a situation where I felt included by the previous choral director to one where I had difficulty trying find my place as it were and not succeeding very well.

Well, I managed finally as in years past to find the one or two songs that I could at least like a little in the repetoire and worked as hard as I generally do. I also battled AFS (Alto Fatigue Syndrome). Having tasted mezzo-soprano, I found alto work to be boring at times and unless you're hunting for it, there are no solos for altos that soar and are "pretty."

Add to that, when I found out how the concert would be structured, I honestly wanted to kill the choral director. Why commit murder? Well, she put together this wonderful program and she waits until the week before the concert to unveil it. Also part of my difficulty was not really seeing how all of this hodge podge of music was going to shape up into a solid concert. I took a deep breath and soldiered on.

We performed the concert-the best one yet with the students. Then we found out that the choral director was not coming back. Her reasons were valid-she had a small son and the school where this chorus belonged simply did not support her efforts to make it a strong program.

The latter was so very true. The school would always praise the chorus but that praise did not translate into a bigger budget or even an office for her where she could store music. The chorus was always treated as an afterthought-this was true in her predecessor's case as well. One could argue that the school is known for its education program, so it would make sense that a chorus would be a low priority. However, there are schools who have strong sports teams and strong extracurricular programs that have no relation to the school's concentration.

Before the concert, I determined that I would not return next semester, since I felt that another break (I had taken one in 2004 for a semester) might do me some good. Now, it looks like the break will be longer than I thought.

I began to wonder if there was something I could have done to help her stay. I started regretting the times I felt resentment and frustration. I regretted the times where I just wished that I did not have to go because all I wanted to do was go home. I took the chorus for granted-that it would be around that it. There are many things that was still left for the chorus and myself to do. I had been with the "second coming" of this chorus where it grew from three to twenty three. I remembered "when." Now there would be no next year or next time (at least for now) and that makes me sad.

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