I took this week off work because I had the time and hadn't taken a vacation all summer. (My trip to Boston didn't count, as it was for work.) I started my summer with a trip to DC for my Georgetown class reunion, so in addition to the chance to see my family, coming back here seemed like a good way to bookend the season.
This is as good a time as any to reveal my latest project. I am a violist, but I haven't played actively for years. I've picked up the viola about once a year and messed around with it just to make sure my fingers still knew where the notes were, but my calluses disappeared long ago and I haven't played in any sort of organized group since college. Lately I've had a strong urge to get back into performing with an ensemble, so about a month ago I started making an effort to practice regularly. I've been practicing some of my old favorite pieces, and they're beginning to sound like I think they should. I'll put it this way: I haven't actually PRACTICED since high school (by which I mean playing passages or even single measures over and over again), but I found myself doing that the other night, probably annoying my neighbors in the process. A few weeks ago I decided I was ready to take a chance at getting into a community orchestra, so I set up an audition with a local group I'd heard about during my last real performing gig (a community theater production of Company in May 2003). I won't say which orchestra it is yet; I'll wait and see if I pass the audition first. I'm surprised at how much I want to do this. I haven't had this kind of desire for a life goal in a long, long time. My audition is next Tuesday night. I'm not nervous yet, but I'm starting to think I will be by then. If I don't get into this group, there are others in NYC, so I will play somewhere with someone else this fall.
I bring all of this up because while I'm down here, my brother, my cousin who's visiting from England, and probably a few other friends and relatives are helping me with my practice sessions. My brother has been playing the violin for almost as many years as I've been playing the viola, but the difference is that he's currently taking lessons, while I'm just working on my own. On Wednesday night he brought his violin to my dad's house and we went over my audition pieces for about two hours. He gave me some much-needed feedback and insight, and I just hope I can remember all of the things he's told me and incorporate them into my performance.