Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pied Piper

This weekend I attended the Chicago Flute Club's Annual Flute Festival in Evanston, Illinois.

I drove myself to St. Louis on Friday afternoon, hopped on a plane, arrived at O'Hare, couldn't find my hotel shuttle, called the shuttle company and was informed that there would be no shuttle because I didn't call 48 hours in advance to reserve the shuttle...even though I already paid for which point I began to freak out, the lady put me on hold for about 5 minutes and then got back on the line to tell me that I had ten minutes to make it to the opposite side of O'Hare if I wanted to catch the only other shuttle that would be available, at which point I ran like heck (with my suitcase, flute bag, and my winter coat) to catch the shuttle, tried not to vomit as the driver bobbed and weaved through the city into the suburbs, ordered overpriced roomservice, tried to sleep as the drunk people next door yelled obscenities, called the front desk when I found it absurdly impossible, listened as they finally calmed down...but then began smoking (not me...the neighbors!), resigned to covering my nose with the sheet, woke the next morning, travelled to the convention hotel, tried a baZillion flutes...most of which cost more than my car, met Aunt and cousin for lunch, listened to an orchestral masterclass, met another cousin for three hours of non-stop laughter and yummy comfort food, walked around Evanston (I'm in love and seriously want to move there...).....

And then, the highlight of my trip:

Jim Walker.

Though you've probably never seen him, you will undoubtedly recognize his flute playing from movies like Titanic, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, Beauty and the Beast, and about 600 more...literally. Here's the list.

I got to hear him play with his jazz group called Free Flight. It was amAZing. Sure, jazz flute with a drumset, string bass, and piano is pretty darn cheese-ball, but his improvisation skills were exhilerating. He is SUCH a wonderful musician. The entire 60-minute show was completely memorized, and I'm pretty sure he could've laid down another hour or two without much trouble. Wowzers. What an inspiration.

After finally getting back to the hotel in yet another crazy taxi experience, it was 11pm and I had to be out front for the airport shuttle at 6am the next morning. After the pre-sunrise shuttle ride, I slugged through security (with an additional flute in tow) and sat in a restaurant for an hour eating breakfast while I waited to board the plane. Upon arriving in St. Louis, the tiredness finally started to get the better of me. I had to stop at least two times to rest on the drive to Columbia.

And then...

It was time to play a Wind Ensemble concert.

I'm honestly suprised I made it through the program without falling asleep, but I think my dad being there gave me a little extra gumption to play well.

Though I was so physically exhausted by the time the weekend waned, it was worth every yawn.  Not only did I need to go to this festival to begin the flute shopping process, but I desperately needed to prove to myself that I can still do things on my own. That I am capable of getting myself from point A to point B successfully and happily. I needed to know I could still do it.  

So, now I am going to buckle down for the craziest week yet of Grad School. Two more proficiency tests, a 25-source annotated bibliography, and a listening quiz followed by a football AND volleyball game on Saturday. Woo!

Possibly the only downfall of being gone this past weekend was the fact that I missed this:

I love band. :)

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