Today was a magical day. Picture the setting; a large cathedral with vaulted painted ceilings and ornately decorated gold detail, large colorful stained glass windows.
Some opening comments about shared friendship, good will and reaching across cultures and oceans through music set a feeling of deep respect and honorable purpose.
As the first number of the concert starts I am running my fingers through some passages, one hand playing, thinking to myself, “why do i do this to myself”. and all the while breathing in and breathing out…trying to calm my mind. Video cameras from PBS, video cameras from Thailand, about a dozen people taking photos. But don’t think about it….There’s the applause, the chair on stage, my rock stop and seat cushion for extra height so that I don’t hit my left leg during the fast passages in the third movement. Okay here we go….
I step up the marble steps in my gold high heels, holding up my crimson gown. I bow and shake the concert masters hand. The audience applause dies down. I adjust my rock stop to be sure it hits the gap where the two large marble slabs don’t quite line up so that my end pin doesn’t slip, I wipe my forehead for some extra lubrication for my fingers.
Shuichi nods at me. My heart pounds. The first tutti note is like a gun shot and I am propelled into a series of triplet runs. I focus on being centered and in control, yet passionate and expressive. I keep the tempo slower than the other nights due to the very echoey hall. I navigate the first section with no trouble. I breathe a sigh. The next section I miss a shift, but I don’t care. I can already tell I am in the right place for this to go very well. My focus is just the right kind of sharpness, and there is no fear now, only awareness and intensity. I notice the clergy in the front row staring at the red butterfly temporary tattoo on my left foot. I think about the crimson gown I am wearing and the passion in my music. It does not match the pious images and sculptures of the virgin Mary in this cathedral. Mary Magdalene? My mind wanders for a moment, wondering what she was like and if she might have a place in the church after all, a passionate and earthly sort of devotion to the divine……
I feel myself swept back up into the music, the elegance of the second movement, and a well executed little spiccato cadenza. I can hear the dark rich sound of my cello vibrating through the magnificent space of the cathedral, and the intensity of my love for music filling that sound.
The third movement scares me a little and I miss a few notes in one of the fast passages. quick recovery. The coda has me in a state of joy.
I finally played my best!
I stand up, bow, and smile, a big genuine smile. The senior vice provost, president of Assumption University and other big wigs in the front row rise to their feet. The rest of the audience stays put, evidently standing ovations are extremely rare in Thailand. The tears begin to well up, but I hurry off stage before anyone can see.
When the long concert ends I am gifted a large bouquet of purple orchids, with pink and purple ribbons. I feel like I am a bridesmaid. We line up for shots with all sorts of important people in front of the orchestra. The cameras roll and flash from all directions. After wards, talking with Assumption University faculty and fans I turn and notice that my friend, the camera lady Stephanie, has been capturing my conversations. I feel like a star! Several of the faculty are Italian, and the director of the performance program flirts with me as only Italian men can. But something good comes from the conversation. I am finally offered a name that fits perfectly for my cello. Lorenzo Sanguino…….which is the name Lorenzo which has both an elegance and power to it, and Sanguino, i hope I am spelling it right, which means basically hot blooded, passionate.
The rain outside has just stopped and I lift my dress to avoid the puddles. The hem gets wet anyway. I think of my wedding day with the mud on my dress.
We ride the trolley down the line of blooming trees, past the wild horses water fountain and over the arched bridge to a five course Thai meal in another magnificent building.