Saturday, March 3, 2012

Do What You Need to Do.

An old friend taught me a valuable lesson. Do what you need to do. Even if occasionally it means that you forget about ‘protocol’.

This friend is an orchestral conductor. I met him when he was just starting out. Even though conducting choral music wasn’t his dream, he was young and needed experience. Thus he took a gig conducting a church choir, which is where I met him. He created some truly beautiful memories through his interpretation of the music.

I was able to bring my joy in music out to play. It was work – in that it took focus and effort. But it was joyful work. I did it because it allowed me to express something in me that I had no other way to express. And I loved him for bringing that out of me.

While with us, he pursued his PhD in orchestral conducting, and started his own chamber orchestra. Honestly they were better than the other orchestras in the city. When he finished his PhD he was able to get a very prestigious position on the east coast. So he left us to pursue his dream.

His first concert arrived, and he had on a beautiful suit. I saw the pictures. It wasn’t a problem when he was socializing with the patrons, or talking to his orchestra members. But when he raised his arms to conduct, it was tight across the shoulders. And it got in the way of his ability to do what he needed to do – lead a group of individuals in their creation of beautiful music.

And so he took the jacket off. During the concert.

If you or I did that during the course of our workday, no one would think anything about it. But this made national news. Apparently conductors NEVER, EVER do that. And so it was a very, very big deal. And he lived.

AND his audience loved him for it. Because he put the music first.

This talented man has gone on to even more prestigious positions, with even better orchestras, in his pursuit of bringing beautiful music to life.

The lesson that I learned (and am still learning) is that I need to be able take off my own straight jacket to be able to do what I came here to do.



PS For those writers among you who are cringing at my excessive use of 'and'... pfft


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