A Journey to Carnegie Hall
Maybe it’s because I’m still sleepy, or because it was so eventful, or both, that I see this past weekend as a beautiful dream; the kind of dream that lingers with you long after you’re awake; the type of dream that you know is more than a dream.
It started like any other weekend: cleaning my house on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning sweeping the patio and alley in the back of my house, cleaning the sidewalk in front, and grocery shopping. This Saturday I also added laundry to the list, since I was headed to New York on Sunday for the premier of my piece “Into the Woods” at Carnegie Hall.
To get there on time, I’d have to get up at 4:00 AM to get ready to catch the 6:00 AM train to New York. The train is seriously the best way to get to NY from DC. From there I was to meet my friends Howard and Ruth to hang out for a couple hours before the concert.
Everything went smoothly, and I caught the train. On the way up, a guy sat beside me. We spoke as the train pulled into Penn Station. It turns out he is an author of Sci fi, one of my favorite genres. This would be the first of many artists I would run into that day.
My friends met me at the station and we went back to their hotel for a minute. They surprised me with Champagne, which really touched my heart. We had a drink in the room, then to brunch, and finally off to the hall.
I was calm, telling myself “this is just another performance”, but of course it wasn’t. This became evident as we approached the hall. The first thing I thought of was the history of the venue and all the people that passed through those doors, doors that I would pass through as well. The thought that followed was, “Oh My God, I’m Here! This is something I think every musical kid dreams of, myself included, and I’m here.”
When we got to the hall I met Bob Lord from PARMA Recordings, as well as Miran Vaupotic, who would conduct the orchestra, and Matej Mestrovic, who, not only had a work on the program, but was performing the piano part as well. From there the talk turned to music.
The concert was fantastic and the conductor led the orchestra brilliantly. We all met at a restaurant and, after a quick bite, Bob and I grabbed a coffee and headed to Lincoln Center where we met up with the conductor and pianist to attend a concert by composer Eric Whitacre.
After the concert the others headed to a restaurant and I headed back to Penn Station to catch the train to DC. I looked forward to a quiet trip back, so I searched for a comfortable spot. Soon after the train left the station I dozed off and woke about an hour later. I kept drifting in and out of sleep, while a woman sitting in front of me was binge watching “Jane the Virgin”.
Sometime, shortly after we passed Philadelphia, I started looking out the window as we passed by houses, seeing streets of the remote places between the larger cities, places like where I grew up. Those places where kids with big dreams know they will have to leave one day.
Suddenly, I experienced something of a temporal rift. I was standing in a school bus, looking at the kid I was, riding back from some school musical event. I looked at my younger self and wanted to tell him to keep dreaming, no matter what, to know that all the beautiful and terrible things he would experience in his life, will have been necessary to manifest his dream.
At that point, I felt a wave of joy come over me as if he heard me. I felt so much love for the kid from one of those remote places where people are afraid to dream. And, I thanked him because I knew that that kid who dared to dream, innocently dreamed the me I am today, and this musical life, into existence.