What It’s All About

Happy New Year, music nerds! Can you believe we’re a week into 2011 already?

I must confess, Miss Music Nerd has been a bit of a basket case for the past month or so. The holiday season can be a very hectic time for any musician, but if you’re a church musician – well, to say it’s a working holiday is a massive understatement! In addition to that, McDoc and I moved to a new apartment just before Thanksgiving (yes, we’re crazy, we know), and moving, even locally, is always a travail. And finally, McDoc has been arranging for a lot of business travel in the coming months, to prepare for that fast-approaching day when his time as a resident comes to a close, and he has to have his next step all queued up. Oh, and then there’s the GRAMMYS®! I will once again serve as the community blogger for the Classical Field – look for my first official post very soon!

In short, there’s a lot going on.

At times like this, I find it’s really easy to get overwrought, to lose perspective, to view the work that I love as a chore, simply because I feel so frustrated about not being able to keep up. Fortunately, the universe eventually arranges to remind me what it’s all about.

Believe it or not, I actually have a hard time getting myself to just sit down and listen to music, without doing anything else. I tend to be so busy doing other music-related things – practicing, planning, reading and writing about music – that the thing itself gets lost in the shuffle. The other day, McDoc had put on a CD of opera duets, the kind of greatest hits compilation that hard-core music snobs might sniff at. I had been to-ing and fro-ing in my usual frantic way, and I decided, for once, to take a break, lay on the sofa, and just listen.

The next track to come up was “Viens, Mallika,” the so-called Flower Duet from Léo Delibes‘ opera Lakmé. It’s so well-known, you’ll probably recognize it even if you’ve never heard of Delibes or his opera. The piece has been used in commercials for chocolates and airlines, for crying out loud! The music is so familiar, in fact, that it’s easy to forget how beautiful it really is.

Laying there on the sofa listening to this, I was able to reconnect a bit with why I love music in the first place. When I slow down and give myself a chance to really feel the music in my bones, I’m transported – yet at the same time, I feel completely and effortlessly rooted. Everything is in balance, and all is right with the world, at least for a few moments at a time.

It’s comforting to know that a respite from my obsessive tendency to worry and obsess and overthink everything is always a available to me, if only I’ll reach out for it. I’m just lucky I have McDoc to act as DJ when I’m too frazzled to do it myself!

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Sing Handel in Boston, Bring Healing to Haiti!

JP Concerts presents: Sing Messiah!
Saturday, December 11, 8 p.m.
St. John’s Episcopal Church
1 Roanoke Avenue, Boston (map link)
$10 Donation includes score rental

Happy Holidays, Music Nerds!

Photobucket‘Tis the season for performances of Handel’s Messiah, both the all-pro and sing-along variety. And Boston, being the turbo-charged classical music mecca that it is, boasts many opportunities to get in on this holiday tradition. Today I would like to draw special attention to one that McDoc and I are involved in, because it will benefit a very good cause!

PhotobucketIn April of this year, McDoc went on a medical mission to Haiti, where he spent a week caring for patients who had sustained spinal cord injuries in the January earthquake. The mission was organized by Boston Healing Hands, the local affiliate of Healing Hands for Haiti, an organization with a 10-year history of providing physical rehabilitation services in Haiti. This excerpt from their mission statement explains what they do better than I can:

Healing Hands for Haiti supports and encourages the Haitian people in providing quality physical rehabilitation services for themselves in a spirit of self-determination, independence and human dignity with a focus on empowering Haitians with disabilities

Before I began learning about McDoc’s medical specialty, physical medicine and rehabilitation, I had very little awareness of the kinds of ongoing, long-term care needed by people with the conditions the specialty treats. Did you know that when someone undergoes an amputation (of which there were many in Haiti resulting from earthquake-related injuries), they need very specialized care in order to be fitted for a prosthesis and use it successfully? And folks with spinal cord injury need ongoing follow-up care as well. Healing Hands for Haiti’s medical volunteers not only provide direct care; they also train local caregivers to continue this crucial work.

McDoc has the opportunity to go on a second mission to Haiti, in March 2011. He’ll volunteer his time (and one of his three annual vacation weeks!), but there is also the matter of travel and living expenses, which total about $2,000 per team member. That’s where Handel comes in: proceeds from this Saturday’s sing-along Messiah will help support McDoc’s mission!

So if you’re in the Boston area and you love to sing, please join us on Saturday! Even if you don’t sing, you’re welcome to come and listen. Accompaniment will be provided by the Young Artists Philharmonic, led by conductor Isaac Kramer, and featured soloists include Megan Bisceglia, Nathan Keoughan, Farah Darliette Lewis, Joshua Pelkey, and Yakov Zamir.

If you can’t make it on Saturday but are moved to help, here’s how: checks payable to Boston Healing Hands may be mailed to:
Boston Healing Hands
Box 465
Milton MA 02186

If you designate your donation as in support of Dr. Brian McMichael, it will help McDoc directly. Thank you so much!

To help you prepare for the event, here’s a vocal warm-up courtesy of Random Acts of Culture:

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