Jen here, flutist from Chamber Project St. Louis.
I have a bit of a a love/hate relationship with the concept of nostalgia. There are certain songs that get me every single time even though they really aren't very good. Madonna's "This Used To Be My Playground" = Jen in a big puddle on the floor. Green Day's "Time of Your Life," oh man, just get me a kleenex in advance. I am not sure if I am scared that the best days are behind me (can we say mid-life crisis at 32?), or if I just appreciate those great times gone by. I am going to go with the latter.
It has been a little over a week since our final Chamber Project concert of the season, just enough time to pull back and get a little perspective. Final things always seems like a whirlwind. Graduations, weddings, funerals, transitions in general can be kind of stressful. I am going to be forthright and honest by telling you the end of CPSTL's Season 4 felt a little like a tornado. Good, but slightly tornadic. I am not sure if it is a contradiction to be "slightly" tornadic, but let's go with it. Going non-profit has required us start planning subsequent seasons much farther in advance and getting ten people in rehearsals is well...challenging.
We have the unique opportunity every season to present a retrospective in music at our Audience Choice concerts. Ten women played music chosen by the audience to a completely full house, and an amazingly responsive audience. All of the stress seems to disappear when you just relax, choose to have fun, and realize you are so blessed and lucky. **See the previously mentioned appreciation of times gone by**
Looking back at the rest of the season has taught me a few things. I get kind of annoyed when people insist that you should learn something from everything in life. I don't always think you have to learn something from a failed relationship, or a great vacation, or an instructional exercise video. Some of these things I may have already known, but perhaps needed a gentle reminder.
Embrace growth: We are growing. I mean really, really growing. More musicians, more audience, more performances, and Laura even grew a baby.... Sometimes, the growth can be a little overwhelming, but it is also unbelievably exciting.
Embrace what makes you different: We started Chamber Project with certain core values and goals. One of those is to break down the wall between the audience and the performer. I am pretty sure it doesn't get any closer than this picture below. As we grow, holding on to those things that we hold as our mission will get more and more important.
This may sound corny...but: Embrace each other: There is something to be said for how our friendship translates into music making. I know that you do not HAVE to be friends with someone to make beautiful and memorable music with them, but I think it certainly helps. Being patient and kind in rehearsals will translate to the stage and to the audience. I think we generally do a pretty good job of remembering this tenet, but if we forget, please remind us. :)
I intended to write a retrospective detailing our season, but I think you get the idea. Through 14 concerts - YES, I SAID FOURTEEN CONCERTS - we have had a complete blast in Season Four. Our audience is not a two dimensional shadow in the distance that is difficult to make out in the darkness of a stuffy concert hall. They are real people wanting an authentic experience, just like us.
Not to sound like a cheerleader, but a big "Thank you" to Season Four and BRING IT ON, SEASON FIVE! We are ready! More information will be coming your way very, very soon....