Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Swan Lake

Friday night I went into town to see the Minnesota Ballet (based out of Duluth) perform part of Swan Lake and a few other pieces choreographed to some lovely music.

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It was wonderful to hear that great music and to see the dancers. I only wish they could have done the whole ballet but I suppose it would have taken too much to travel with all the dancers and sets it would take.

I only wish that Jill could have been there with me; we have enjoyed so much music together that I think of her every time I go somewhere and she’s not there beside me.

When Jill was in 4th grade, she decided she wanted to play flute. We purchased an inexpensive, second-hand flute and she took lessons from one of my high school friends. Then she joined the grade school band; the teacher gave sectional lessons but she was the only one who showed up for the flute section, so she got private lessons most of the time.

Joy used to complain about Jill practicing at home because it bothered her, but I love the sound of the flute. Jill is very talented and was able to get fantastic sound out of the flute from the minute she picked it up. No squawking (well, very little) like most beginning wind students make. She was second chair in Junior High band most of the time, following behind the first chair that was older than she was. At that time the band director told me that Jill should have lessons (we had ceased the friend’s lessons) from a professional, as she was so talented.

We were going through a “poor” time, financially, so Jill and I convinced my dad that he should pay for her lessons. So, once a week I took her to the other side of town for private lessons. Then the teacher told us that Jill needed a better flute, so we got together enough money to order a very NICE flute. At that time, Jill’s hero was James Galway; when she kept asking me what she was getting for Christmas, I kept telling her that I had made arrangements to purchase one of James’ gold flutes and had him autograph it for her.

That Christmas, when she opened the flute, the first comment was “It’s not gold; where’s the autograph?” The new flute made a world of difference in her sound and skills.

Soon Jill’s conductor contacted me to tell me that he needed a piccolo player and felt that Jill would make a great one. So, we found money and got her a piccolo. This time I put the piccolo in my purse (in it’s case) and asked Jill to clean my purse out for me.

The conductor had warned me that changing from flute to piccolo often takes practice and Jill might not sound very good at first, but she picked it up, started playing and had no trouble with the sound! (I TOLD you she was talented!)

We soon moved to Minnesota from South Dakota; Jill started High School at a smaller school. She tried out – and won – first chair flute in the school band.

That fall we discovered the Minnesota Youth Symphony, which was for elite, talented young musicians. They practiced every Saturday morning and had a concert three times a year. The “chairs” were rotated so that no one person had first chair all the time. Jill soon became the prime piccolo player, however, as few of the other young flutists had piccolos. This led us to get a better piccolo for Jill.



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So now that Jill is no longer in an orchestra (time does not allow this), I listen to music and “hear” her in it. And you can too! Do you listen to “Romeo and Juliet?” Hear the piccolo? That’s Jill. Listen to “Night on Bald Mountain?” That’s Jill! There are many pieces that I can’t put a name to, right now, but I recognize them when they play on the radio (or on a cd that I have) and I can “hear” Jill playing.

So when I heard and watched Swan Lake, I did not hear her playing, as she never played this piece in orchestra, but I felt her sitting by me and could almost see her! This is one of the main reasons why I enjoy classical music so much is because we enjoyed so much together as she was growing up.

Have a beautiful, musical day!


Oh, and the prints in the snow? Those were Peanut’s as we were heading to the barn!!

1 comment:

Kati said...

*grin* I hope Jill still finds the time to play for fun & relaxation and to keep her skills with the instruments fresh.

I think playing an instrument is one of the greatest talents a person can have. Wish my parents had had the time & money to allow me to continue with piano lessons as a kid. I keep saying I'm going to learn, but can never seem to find the time & money myself. Now, as a mom, all that time & money gets spent on lessons & such for MY child.

Thanks for sharing your memories of Jill's talents with us, Connie!!!