Hey, it’s 8:30 a.m. and I haven’t checked in with my 160-member worldwide readership yet.
I’ve never really spoken these exact words in public before…but I think my performing days are over, and I’m glad to see them go.
Time was, I couldn’t imagine myself in a position where I would not want to be onstage. The thought never entered my mind. In fact, I’ve always told my students that when they are performing onstage, I am living out my continuing dream through them. Anymore? Not so much. Case in point:
Tonight, I am performing with a group of guys (loosely named the Jazz All-Stars) up on Lake Erie. Great musicians all, and I was beyond flattered to be asked to sing. I’m doing two tunes, so no big deal, but I’ve experienced no small amount of trepidation about the whole thing for the past two months. Will the voice hold out? Can I keep company with all these hot players? Do I still have it? It’s all getting to be too much; I am, in fact, dreading it, now that the day has finally arrived. In past years, I couldn’t wait to do a gig like this. Now I’m looking past it and living for 10 p.m.
Why is this? I’ve thought a lot about it recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all right. It’s all right to move on. My priorities are different now: grandchildren, travel, family and friends. I said to Mavis the other day, “I don’t care about jazz ed. anymore.” That’s not really true; I care about the style that’s become second nature to me over the decades. I care about its proliferation and its importance to America’s musical heritage. It’s the only truly American musical form, and we need to protect it like any other national treasure. I love jazz (and the blues and R & B and rock and roll) and what it’s meant to me. I guess I just don’t care to perform it any longer. In fact, I don’t think I really want to perform at all anymore. (Obvious exceptions: 1. Playing in a band with my sons; 2. Sitting in with BoomR; 3. Playing Mrs. Lovett onstage in Sweeney Todd.)
My career as a music educator is approaching its twilight hours, and I definitely do not want to be one of those choral directors who just mark time, waiting to collect the retirement pay. That attitude will always seep into the music your groups sing. I want to be involved and current and motivated till the final minute, but I think I might be drifting in another direction — away from jazz and into musical theater. Am I mental? Is this allowed? Do I not care enough? Is the world truly going to end in six months and it won’t matter anyway?
Meh. Regardless, it will be a nice evening (I hope) for the audience, and the Thriller and I will have a relaxing dinner somewhere in Port Clinton, and we will all likely survive the gig and it will be a pleasant ride home. Then we can begin pre-launch preparations for the Odyssey. (Yippy!)
Wow — a 500-word, rambling treatise on nothing in particular. Wouldn’t be RtB otherwise, now would it?
It’s Finkday, YaAAaaay