I'm not sure if it is due to the personal nature of our work or the personalities music attracts, but playing in the symphony is like one never-ending family reunion. You know some people better than others, and there are the inevitable clashes. Ultimately, though, when something happens - good or bad - we are there for each other. I experienced this generosity first hand when Alice was born. Players I had barely spoken to brought us food, diapers, and lent sympathetic ears. It is truly a caring group of people that feels the ups and downs of life together.
This week has been a whiplash of emotions for my symphony family. (And it's only Tuesday...)
On Sunday one of our colleagues passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Calvin was our principal horn player. He was really a great guy - I know people always say this when someone has died, but in Calvin's case it was absolutely true. He was a good man. Calvin was always smiling and ready with a story. If you sat next to Calvin at a gig you were sure to be in for a good time. He was also a tremendous musician. Saturday night he had a solo in our pops concert. His sound just soared over the orchestra. I made a mental note at the concert to compliment him the next time I saw him. Sadly, I did not have the chance.
In extreme contrast, our associate conductor's wife delivered their first baby yesterday. Everyone is doing well - the baby is gorgeous.
We had rehearsal this morning. The mood was somber - everyone was distracted. The arrangements for Calvin's funeral were announced and then someone said to Jim (our associate conductor), "So, Jim, do you have any good news you can give us?" He looked at them blankly. After a hint he announced the birth of his daughter, Kiri Jane. We hooted and hollered.