As an addendum to “How I spent my Summer Vacation,” I returned from the Northeast on July 10th, which was my birthday. Not just any birthday this time, but the big FIVE-OH. I also have just concluded my 25th season with the KSO. Which means that out of the KSO’s 75 seasons, I have played a third of them. Even if you only have a GED you know that I was 25 when I signed on. A day will come in November when I will have lived exactly half of my life in Knoxville and half of it in New England. The question is begged, will I still be playing here when I am 75, in the KSO’s centennial season, having played half of their seasons?
1986 was a busy year for me, I was finishing up a Master’s Degree in music at UMass, Amherst. I met my wife Helen there and we played in a graduate quartet-in-residence. Helen had enrolled at New England Conservatory for the 86-87 school year, and we spent one very hot July day in Boston looking for a place for us to live. As a default, I had enrolled in a D.M.A. program at Boston University. I was antsy about living in Boston; the freelance racket was going to take a long time to crack. Between Thanksgiving of 1985 and August of ‘86 I took eight auditions; Louisville Orchestra (runner-up), Chicago Symphony (bomb), Spoleto Festival (got the job), Charlotte Symphony (finalist), Columbus Symphony (bomb) New Jersey Symphony (semi-finals), Boston Symphony sub list (one never knows how one does in Boston until the phone rings), and on a very hot August 19th, Knoxville.
After the audition I flew back to western Massachusetts and we were married on the following Saturday. (Yes, it is our 25th anniversary this year)!! We spent our honeymoon on Prince Edward Island, and soon after that Helen began her studies at NEC while I drove a moving van with all my junk down here, ditching the D.M.A. at BU and wondering how fate had acquired such a good curve ball.
So we lived apart for a semester, until Helen decided to capitalize on UT’s then-excellent Suzuki Pedagogy program. (Kathy Hart-Reilly, director of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Sinfonia ensemble, was a classmate). Helen eventually would secure a per-service position with the KSO. We drove a moving van with all HER junk and a car down here in a driving snowstorm, arriving on New Year’s Day of 1987.
Here are some pictures from my birthday party at Norris Dryer’s place in the old city.
Helen lights the candles...
making a wish
I always wanted a new Bluetooth! (something about the frosting made a lasting impression).
left to right: me, Eunsoon Corliss, Lindsay Crawford, Any Bermudez