Sunday, April 3, 2011


Life is so unpredictable.

A week ago yesterday, Andy and I saw one of my former UNT colleagues, Derek, perform as the Evangelist in Bach's St. John's Passion with Chatham Baroque. Yesterday, as the eventual result of my attending that concert, I performed with the Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble.

It all started with a Facebook ad.

It's taken us a while to get out to concerts since we've been in Pittsburgh. The very first musical performance I attended was pretty underwhelming, so maybe that was keeping me. Lots of them have been cost-prohibitive, as we're not exactly carrying around large sacks of money these days. Part of me, too, was afraid of how going to a concert would make me feel--that maybe it would remind me of my feelings of total inadequacy. For all of these reasons, I stayed away.

I happened to see an ad for Chatham Baroque on the sidebar in Facebook one day. Since the early music community is a small one, and the ad boasted of guest artists in the upcoming performance, I decided to click on it and see if I knew anyone who would be performing. Sure enough, I saw Derek, with whom I've performed on a number of occasions. Figuring he'd want to know there was a familiar face in the audience, I sent him a message letting him know we were planning on going. He replied, saying he'd comp our tickets (which ended up being a VERY good thing, because it turns out we wouldn't have been able to go otherwi$e).

After the performance (which was great), he and I chatted. He said he'd been telling some of the instrumentalists that there was a baroque cellist around, and that they were surprised and always happy to find local musicians. "You should contact them," he said.

Yeah, right. That is so not me.

But, I did it anyway.

I sent out three quick emails, and I only got one reply, from the Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble. They were really excited to know I was around. I sent the email on Thursday, I think, and received a reply the same day. Friday afternoon, I received another email, saying that their cellist was sick; would I be able to come to a rehearsal this afternoon for a gig tomorrow? How's that for timing?

So (not having a baroque instrument), I tuned Gus (steel strings and all!) down to 415, and off I went to the rehearsal. It went well, and the director decided that whether or not their cellist was better by the concert, since I played the rehearsal it made more sense for me to play. (Unfortunately, the cellist didn't get the three messages left for her on the topic, so she showed up right before the downbeat, instrument in hand. Awkward all around. I felt bad . . . kind of.) Turns out it was a pretty cool gig--a benefit concert in support of Japan. The emcee was one of the hosts of the classical music station, and there were members of the Pittsburgh Symphony and other really good local musicians. It restored my faith in the music scene here.

A perfect confluence of events. If I hadn't seen that Facebook ad and decided to see who was performing . . . if I hadn't contacted Derek (with whom I was only barely acquainted) . . . if he hadn't offered the comps . . . if we hadn't had that little conversation . . . if I'd sent the email a day later . . . if the cellist hadn't gotten sick . . . if I hadn't been at my computer (I got the email an hour before the rehearsal) . . . if this hadn't been the perfect "experimental" gig to try out a new cellist . . . if if if . . . !

So, who knows what will come of this, if anything. But, the gig went well, and I think everyone was pleased (except the other cellist, probably). Just goes to show you the power of a little initiative, being prepared, and perhaps a little divine help.


  1. Perfect! I hope this opens the door for some wonderful opportunities!!

  2. Way to go! I'm usually terrified to put myself out there, but it can work wonders. Glad you've got your foot in the door. And especially glad you were able to participate in something cool like a baroque concert. Super fun.