I’d say that my enjoyment of classical music has been on-and-off in my life. I played cello from Grade 6 till Grade 13, hearing the pieces from the inside of the orchestra. Then, sadly, I let go of my instrument. Except for a few dabbles, I haven’t played again.
Years ago, I bought a 10-CD set called “The Most Beautiful Melodies of Classical Music”. Such marvelous tunes, but truth be told I haven’t listened to them very often. They sit on a high shelf, ignored.
In the early 2000’s, I went to a couple of Orchestra London concerts, watching the musicians from the balcony. I don’t remember the pieces but it was good music.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I sat in the second row of Dundas Street Centre United Church to hear The Musicians of Orchestra London, folks who are determined to play on after the city dropped its funding. Great sights and sounds from my nearby perch.
None of all that, however, prepared me for last night. It was another concert from The Musicians, this time in the dramatic confines of Metropolitan United Church. The centre part of the front row was blocked off, but I was allowed to sit up front on the left side of the orchestra. I had been leaning back and talking to two women behind me when the musicians walked in.
A female violinist sat down about four feet from me, facing to my right. When she did a downbow, I could have touched her right elbow. The orchestra began with the Overture from the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart. From the first note, my new friend launched herself into the stratosphere, moving and grooving to the music as her fingers flew on the fingerboard. And her notes were so pure. The melodies exploded in my head as I watched her grab on to them, then caress, then propel once again. I tried to take my eyes off of her but usually couldn’t. She was a goddess of the violin and I was transported into her world. I had never been so close to a professional musician and I was overwhelmed with the power of it all.
As intermission started, I leaned forward and said, “Thank you. That was lovely. I loved watching your fingers fly.” She smiled. And then I continued: “Am I sitting too close?” She laughed. “Oh no. In fact you can sit up here if you want”, pointing to the very front pew beside her. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot? I’d be dodging her elbow all night.
Words cannot express the depth of my evening. May I bring such intensity to the moments of my life.