Something about the enthusiastic crowd last Saturday brought it on. Maybe it was the loud and sustained applause which greeted Junichi Hirokami when he first came on stage, even before the music had begun. Maybe it was the intensity with which he conducted the opening chords of fate by the strings in Beethoven's passionate and dramatic Egmont overture. Maybe it was the supernaturally powerful sound which emanated from the strings and then the whole orchestra as we played.
The energy never stopped. Junichi never stopped asking for more, more beauty, more passion, more depth, from us. Our audience followed every note, every whisper, as we played.
Maybe it was the four, or was it five (?) curtain calls for our Maestro, and for us, at the end of that momentous concert. Maybe it was the throng of vibrant students, who had pulled together as a group to attend that concert and support us, led by a few die hard leaders, Matthew Brahms and Julianne Akins.
I felt it all, and didn't believe it. Was it because it was too good to be true? Did Columbus love us that much? After all, we had heard almost nothing but dismal news from those in whom we entrusted our fate. We heard that we weren't worth what we were paid, we were replaceable, we were a nuisance, a thorn in their side, a delay in their day. At least that's the way we had felt. Until that night.
Something happened. I am always skeptical about such "energy" forces and such unproveable phenomena. Though I love mythology, I am a scientist at heart. Show me the graphs the facts, and I'll believe it. But something hit me that night which I had never felt. I think we all felt it, those who were there, in the orchestra, in the audience.
At the wonderful party afterwards, I met several of the incredible people who had attended several recent recitals at my home. One of them bought me a drink, to celebrate. They had felt it too.
Pieces fell into place that night. I met and spoke with people whom I wasn't quite sure I trusted, but who now gave me big hugs and clicked with me, and I with them. Conversations happened, words and ideas flowed. I seemed to meet the very person I had wanted to speak to just as I need to say what I had to say.
I kept feeling it, that energy I claim to be suspicious of. It wasn't me, it wasn't anyone else in particular. It came from everyone there, from the sidewalk, from the air, from the high quality jazz band playing their hearts out. (I spoke to them later; they're OSU students; I plan to have them play at my home this Summer)
I came home feeling a rush of optimism I didn't know I was capable of feeling. Yet the question gnawed at me: What was there to be optimistic about?
The next morning I read the Dispatch editorial about the Symphony, and reality came rushing back; we were not important, we were a huge annoyance, we were entirely replaceable. It couldn't be. Not after the night before. But there it was, in print; do or die.
What was I feeling the night before? Was it valid? I can't say no, unless the blood running through my veins is cold. But it's hard to say "YES, I believe it!".
Yet, I KNOW what I felt, and I know everyone else there felt it. Did you?
Tonight, I played a few small things with a dozen or so other musicians at another Symphony Strong event at the Worthington Hill Country Club. And it happened again! I saw how the audience listened intently as each musician told their personal stories about where they grew up and how they got into music.
I was a bit nervous playing some pretty modern jazzy pieces for clarinet and bass, after hearing the preceding wonderful string pieces which had a popular appeal and had the audience on their feet. But I introduced each piece with humor and played it with gusto. Afterwards, many people came up to tell me how refreshing those little modern jazz ditty's were, how much they enjoyed me enjoying the music.
And I began to feel it again, that feeling of being on top of a BIG wave, and knowing it's REALLY happening, and you just have to trust the wave and let it take you along with it.