Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory ~ Oscar Wilde
AJ and Lila had their very first music recital yesterday and it was everything I thought it would be, and so much more. I had been looking forward to finally seeing them play the violin! I couldn't wait until they picked up the tiny, sepia-colored instruments and pluck along to the catchy tune of "Pepperoni Pizza", using their bows for the much hyped ditty, aptly named "Teeter Totter." I wanted to smile at them like a lunatic from the yellow plastic mini bleachers. (<-- Mission ultimately overly accomplished.) But what I hadn't realized was that I would be stepping back in time and into the future at the very moment my flip flops lighted upon the tiles of the Music Room.
The Music Room. Every school has one (which I hope never changes), and they all have the same smell to me: a mixture of cleaning solution, old books, and something undefinable... I guess if nostalgia had a smell, that's what it would be. I gazed around at the records stapled to the walls and thought about my very first album, "ABACAB" by Genesis. There were muscial terms scrolled above the blackboard reminding me of the countless ta ta TEE TEE ta's and beautiful-beautiful-beautiful's I tapped upon myriad percussion instruments as a teenager. [Side note: I tell everyone I played drums in high school, but in fact, that's not the case. It could be considered a stretching of the truth, however, as I was a melodic percussionist. I never met a marimba I didn't like. Ba DUM bum. Rather, ta ta TEE TEE ta. Anyway, drums just sounds so much cooler than marimba, vibraphone, cowbell, and chimes. In talking with my fellow melodic percussionists, I am finding they engage in the very same ruse in their adult life. It's understandable. I also prefer not to divulge the fact that I was a not-so-proud member of the color guard. Yes, I was a flagger. One can only imagine the beating I took for that. Especially the self-inflicted kind those times I flung the flag high up into the air only to have it land squarely on my green felt cowboy hat. With a gold feather. I can guarantee FDR High School no longer subjects their flaggers to polyester cowgirl outfits and white Barbie boots. I mean, we were the FDR Presidents, for God's sake. Shouldn't we have at least been forced to wear polyester business suits? *sigh* OK, moving on...]
Waiting for the monkeys to enter the room, I thought even further back to the five-year-old me who played violin. I remember enjoying it immensely. And from what I've been told, I was rather good at it. I played an itty bitty violin, just like the ones displayed neatly on the floor yesterday. (There were eight in the back row, and eight in the front, all perfectly lined up and awaiting chubby little fingers to gently pick them up and promptly rock out to pep-per-on-i-PIZ-za.) I recalled the five-year-old Jen who shared a stage with her best friend, Lisa LaPolt, and performed a piece by Beethoven. I remember that we were wearing poodle skirts, as the concert paid homage to the '60s, and we received a standing ovation. It was the only standing ovation I've ever gotten. (To date, that is. I still have aspirations.)
And then they arrived. All sixteen wonderful little violinists entered the room with their hands clasped in front of them, like tiny diplomats. Fourteen of them were a blur to me at first, however, as I fixated on just these two:
|Lila von Beethoven|
|AJ "Yo. Yo, MAAA!" Biasi|
What was ultimately thrilling to me was seeing each of them perform so differently. AJ followed the direction of his teacher to a tee. It was endearing, and almost comical, how he responded to "Now, gently pick up your bow..." with extreme reverence to the "gently" portion of the directive. Sooo sweet and slow and gentle were his motions, it was like he was picking up an exquisite artifact. I envisioned Tom Cruise's character in "Mission Impossible" dangling upside-down, slowly and gingerly performing his task. Upon looking over to Lila, I immediately ascertained that she'd not only already swiped her bow off of the floor, but was giggling and waving hello. Ohh, my funny little Lila... She and her twin brother, born only a minute apart, are two entirely different people, as evidenced in just a 14-minute violin recital.
And in those 14 minutes, I thought a lot about time. How little of it we have on this mortal coil and how insanely important every single minute is. Yesterday, I saw AJ and Lila as teenagers in their 10th grade concert, with AJ on the violin and Lila playing drums. I saw them tossing their graduation cap tassles from one side to the other, signifying two new and exciting journeys, and one very empty nest. And then I grinned. Because I get to witness this. I get to be a part of this. There will be more performances throughout the years, with varying instruments and a lot of teeter-tottering along the way, and I'm going to proudly watch the whole tennis match, smiling like a lunatic from the yellow plastic bleachers.