TicketMOMster review: Dame Evelyn Glennie @ Westminster United Church (Manitoba Chamber Orchestra)
My bucket list isn’t large; I’m very fortunate. However, there are a few things I’d still really like to do. Here are a few items on my bucket list:
– Watch baby turtles hatch and sprint to the ocean
– Fly in a crop duster (Wheeeeeee!)
– Travel to every country in the world that ends with the word “land” (i.e. Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, etc).
One item on my bucket list is to meet Dame Evelyn Glennie. A few years ago, I almost made that happen.
In case you don’t know who she is, let me give you a bit of background. She’s the FIRST MUSICIAN to successfully turn solo percussion playing into a full time career.
Basically, she travels around the world playing percussion with different symphonies and artists. That’s her job. Musicians write music for her and she breathes life into their piece. Her whole body works with the music and you can literally see the piece living as she plays it. It’s remarkable.
In 2013, she played two nights at the Concert Hall with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and I attended both nights.
Look at the WSO picture I’ve attached to this post. This is her playing with the Symphony, NOT the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. That may be a bit of a faux pas, but I LOVE this picture because this is how it feels to watch her; the passion and the movement. Look at her hair.
I’ve seen her play haunting pieces of music and the movement of her hair transforms her into a sorceress. It flies wildly around her body as she conjures; striking and coercing unearthly sounds from her instruments. Good God, I jump up and applaud with tears in my eyes after every performance.
On her second night I stayed in my seat to collect myself before heading out. Almost everyone had already left the Concert Hall and all the lights were on. Just then, she walked back on stage to collect her music sheets. This was my chance!
I jumped out of my seat and swiftly walked to the front of the stage. I was super nervous, my hands shaking. She didn’t see me coming; her eyes never left her music stand. I got about 20 feet away from her and…she turned around and walked off the stage. I was so disappointed. Why didn’t I yell to her “Wait! Wait! I really want to meet you!”?
Because she’s profoundly deaf.
Mind. Blown. Heheh…patting myself on the back for that one. Good job TicketMOMster.
The most amazing thing is that she probably hears better than you or I. Here’s a TED Talk where she explains how she listens (start at 8:00):
Fast forward to today. Life is much different than it was back then. Back then my Father was still alive and I wasn’t actively grieving his death. Back then I would have moved mountains to see her. But today, I was so low, I was wondering if it was even worth it to go.
However, she’s one of the most exceptional musicians and she has this ability to create and sustain goose bumps all over my body. So, I had to go.
It was a rainy night and there was nowhere to park around Westminster United Church. I parked three blocks away and made the long, wet trek to the church.
I found a pew and positioned myself so I could see the vibraphone on stage. Three vibraphonists played while people were taking their seats. I don’t know if they were good or not, the two women behind me wouldn’t stop talking, so I couldn’t really listen to them. I read the program while they played and got an idea of what the first two pieces of music were about.
The first piece was called Kaluza Klein which had something to do with the 5th dimension and the strings and vibraphone “searching for the ‘right’ notes”. I didn’t really get the 5th dimension stuff, but what I did get was goose bumps all over. And they stayed for the duration of the piece. So apparently I can still feel music even when I’m incredibly low.
Evelyn left the stage and the orchestra started the second piece, titled Chamber Symphony in C Minor, op. 110A. I don’t know much about chamber music or strings for that matter, other than they have the capacity to convey great depth and emotion. They played beautifully and I wondered why I didn’t have a subscription to the MCO or the WSO.
There was an intermission and I decided not to read about the next three pieces coming up. During the first hal, I found my brain was a little too active. I was waiting for parts to happen and looking for meaning instead of letting the music take me where it was going to go.
After the intermission, I free-fell into the music. Evelyn Glennie’s solo in Sonata in D Minor op. 5, no. 12 – La Folia was beyond impressive, but I really enjoyed Piccolo Concerto in C Major, rv 443. It felt a bit like Christmas; peppy and joyful. The middle felt like a winter wonderland, the snow drifting and twirling across the prairies. In the end it was back to Christmas.
We stood and clapped for a LONG time after the show was over and they played one more piece, but I didn’t catch the name of it (again, because of the talking behind me). It was lovely.
So, did I meet Dame Evelyn Glennie? No. I’ve been wearing these clothes for the past three days and I don’t remember if I washed my face today. This is not me; this is me grieving. I don’t really want to meet my musical hero while I’m in this state.
I won’t be like this forever and I’m hoping she’ll come back next year and I’ll have another shot. But tonight…I didn’t even try. And I’m okay with that.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters