Saturday, June 14, 2008

tassel-tossing at Epcor

Like a lot of Calgarians, the CPO can't afford to own a home. Instead, we rent space in the Epcor Centre and perform in the Jack Singer Concert Hall. This can lead to some occasional space crunches, when the hall is booked for other things -- last week, for example, we had a cello audition displaced to a nearby church, since the hall was rented for a Tom Jones concert. (Sort of like getting kicked out of your apartment because your roommate has a hot date.)

I tend to practice at the Epcor Centre too, usually downstairs in one of the dressing rooms. The Epcor crew is pretty nice about letting me do this, and only occasionally tell me I have to leave because Queen Noor or the Kids Fest needs the space. Lately, it's been high school graduation season, and my practice sessions have been accompanied by disembodied voices reading off names, following by whooping and applause. All the names seem to get some degree of acclamation, which is nice to hear, though you can easily distinguish the really popular ones.

Hearing these ceremonies makes me remember finishing high school -- how grown up I felt, and how confident I was that I'd soon be far away. When my jazz band director John DePalatis asked me where I'd be in ten years, I think that was my answer: "Somewhere far away." And the week after graduation, I found myself beginning a sentence, "Back when I was in high school..."

I guess in retrospect, I wish I'd enjoyed that time more, and been in less of a rush to get to the next thing. It's now more than ten years, and I'm somewhat far away, but lots of people I knew in high school still matter a great deal to me. Next week I'm going back to visit Tacoma, and playing in a recital at the Hammond Ashley Memorial Double Bass Workshop with my friend Miriam, who was my mentor and stand partner in the Tacoma Symphony. She's now in Victoria, playing bass, teaching, and coaching music and lots of other subjects.

I suppose my cliche commencement speech sermon, if I were asked to give one, is that we can move far away, but we don't really change that much from the people we were in high school. If we were shy and dorky, we'll probably stay that way, just hopefully get more comfortable with ourselves and find people who like us for those qualities.


William Wren said...

great blog

John DePalatis said...

Has it been 10 years? What the hell?