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Oct 12, 2005

Kaoru Watanabe Oct 12 2005

I visited St. Louis on my way home from San Jose- where I gave my final fue workshop of the month- to spend some time with my parents. Luckily, there was a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra rehearsal in the morning so I was able to hear the orchestra for the first time since getting over a two month long strike at the beginning of the year. The Orchestra sounded great- I could tell even through the start-and-stops of the rehearsal, with an influx of energetic young players added to the experienced great veterans that I grew up listening to.

I was talking to my mom backstage during one of the breaks when suddenly she grabbed the arm of a bearded man passing by. She thanked him for coming to the Orchestra and told him how much she appreciated having him there and he in return said it was he who felt deep gratitude. At first I had no idea what they were talking about, thinking he was a new violinist to the Orchestra that I had simply never met before. As it turned out, he was a member of the now nonexistent Louisiana Orchestra.

Orchestras from all over the country opened many of their extra positions to musicians who lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and possessions- including priceless instruments- to the recent hurricane and floods in New Orleans. This man was a violinist who was at home during the storm. He stayed in his house for eight days with no running water or electricity and no substantial supply of food. He admitted to breaking into a neighbors home out of desperation. "I left a note!" he added showing his humanity and good humor through the tragedy. He spoke of being reunited with his cat after having to leave her behind when he was finally able to evacuate.

It was very touching to see musicians helping each other out in times of need, both financially and in spirit. What with the devastating storms, earthquakes and other calamities both natural and man made in the US, Pakistan, Russia, Africa, Israel, Iraq and virtually every other country in the world, whether its in the form of the avian flu, roadside bombs, poverty, disease, political corruption, racism, classism, etc etc etc it's heartening to see the small humanitarian acts that still show up, even in the worst of situations. I had to leave the rehearsal early to catch a flight back to New York. I did get to hear the first lush, dissonant, searching chords of a Saarinen symphony on my wait out. They seemed a perfect sound for our times.

Posted by kodoblog |


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