Being a practicing musician is a very interesting life. It starts from that moment when you first hear the one piece of music that knocks the wind out of you. That music takes over your heartbeat and respiration making its pulse and breath yours until it feels like you are the music. You’re hooked.
Once caught you begin building the skills that will be required to be a practitioner of that art. This is a slow and tedious process requiring step by step guidance of many mentors on many levels. Ultimately the music that has possessed you is what gives you power to persevere when your strength falters.
With each new skill you acquire comes another strata of complexity in which you can choose to immerse yourself. The truth is there is no final level of achievement to be attained. You imagine new possibilities and keep pushing your own capacity.
This sounds like a life of monkish isolation EXCEPT the fruition of this work is sharing it with other people. This can be in a living room or an arena. It makes no difference. The inward focus, the channeling of energy, and the desire to connect with those you are sharing your art with are the same.
This is the life of the musician. The career is all about maintaining opportunities to achieve this deep immersion. The possible activities that constitute a career in music are many. The range of styles and eras of music are vast. You balance following your musical dream with paying the bills and count your blessings for every note you get to play or write. We all teach and play in a variety of roles and venues.
The work of teaching includes guiding preschoolers to sing and move, beginning lessons on an instrument, teaching the history of music, teaching the language of music, leading choirs and ensembles of passionate amateurs, and honing and polishing the very high skills of young artists headed to major stages.
The work of performing can be everything from being part of a dance band, club musician, recitalist, soloist, symphonic musician, church musician, accompanist, pit musician (shows, ballets, movies, and operas), and, of course, chamber musician. If you look at the biographies of all the performers and composers included in our series you will see that all do or have done many things beyond performing chamber music.
Each summer, when we come together as the Craftsbury Chamber Players here in Vermont, we get to take a break from some of our various other activities and do nothing else but make this music-right here, right now. Each week we immerse ourselves in that one program. We work individually to realize our parts in those scores as beautifully as we possibly can. We sequester ourselves together for the duration of the concert week living and breathing the music we are preparing free of usual distractions. Finally we unveil the results of our labor on Wednesday and Thursday nights for our audience, some of whom have been coming for between 35-50 years.
This is the Craftsbury Chamber Players past and present. Our 2017 season (the 51st) continues a great tradition here in Northern Vermont.
Thank you so much to all of you who have supported and continue to support our musical mission. See you in the summer!