Sunday, May 18, 2014

Carmina I'm-Done-A

When it was announced last June that Sac Choral would be singing Carmina Burana this season, I was delighted--it's an amazing piece of music, and one I had not yet sung. If I'm going to be a choir teacher, having these experiences is a crucial...oh, hell, who am I kidding? I just want the singing-induced high of hitting a high C.

What I didn't anticipate was how busy these few months--March, April, May--would be, and how exhausting it would be to attend rehearsals and learn this massive piece of music (and two others) in addition to taking teenagers to Anaheim, playing in the Spring Musical, etc. etc. etc. In March, I considered sitting this concert out, but even as the prospect of Monday nights at home, tucked into bed by 9:00, sounded wonderful, I knew I couldn't miss out on this. Carmina Burana is just a wonderful piece of music.

We performed it last night, and of course, my weekend leading up to this concert was anything but restful. On Friday, we had the craziness of a "Day at the Bay" extravaganza in the quad of my Large Suburban High School, complete with enormous inflatable slip-and-slide, dunk tank, and volleyball. That night, I was off to Sacramento for a two-and-a-half hour dress rehearsal. On Saturday, I had an all-day training for my summer job (same gig as last year, and I'm excited to meet new students from even more countries this year--Austria, Norway, Spain, Italy, and Taiwan), which I left early to get to another dress rehearsal.

I found myself hiking from the parking garage to the Community Center Theater with my phone in hand, watching a live stream of the Preakness--YAY CHROME!!--as I booked it to get to rehearsal on time.

The concert was thrilling, and exhausting. There's standing, there's sitting, there's more standing--now with a sore back from the sitting on metal bleachers. There are high notes (we had one C, a couple of B's, and several As and Gs, which are pretty "easy" for me except when I'm tired). There are loud sections. There are soft sections--often harder than the loud because they require so much control of the breath.

But in the end, it was so, so satisfying. Don cut off the last note, and as the sound of the voices and the instruments rang through the hall, before Don could even lower his arms, we heard a loud, "Yeah!!" from the audience, and people were jumping to their feet.

Our official photographer got some great shots, and as I'm always in the front row, there I am in all my ugly-dress-red-lipstick glory.

I love that he caught this lyric translation.

Because I am, basically, insane, this morning I ran a 5K race.

On six hours of sleep.

I signed up for this one because it started and ended at my Large Suburban High School, and benefits a foundation which provides Spanish, Music and other great programs to the K-8 district that feeds into my school. In other words, the music program that will, over time, give me more choir students. It's a great cause, and it was a fun race. A colleague was there because I had emailed everyone about it, and we got chatting before the race, about our running experiences, and his history of being a choral nerd like me. He is much faster than I am, but he stuck around after to see how I finished--more on that in a minute. I also saw Lynn, my lovely next-door neighbor, who was there with a group of band kids to play peppy tunes at the starting line.

I knew going in that this race would be difficult--such a busy weekend, not quite enough sleep--but I was determined to do my best, so I pushed myself.

To the point of tummy upset.


The last half mile or so, I felt those familiar rumbling feelings, but I didn't want to slow down so close to the finish. I took deeper breaths and powered forward, finally reaching the very nice track of our school and gasping my way towards the finish line with a huge crowd of maybe-future-students and their parents cheering me on. As I crossed the finish, my stomach heaved, and I clapped a hand over my mouth. False alarm.

"Are you okay?!" asked a kind volunteer.

"Yes!" I replied with fake cheer...and then promptly heaved again and darted away from her in embarrassment.

I started to frantically look for a garbage can, or a space in the crowd to privately lose my breakfast, because it was apparent by now that it was coming back up no matter what. Another volunteer, directing people to exit the (high-tech, gorgeous, expensive) track onto our (gorgeous, expensive) Astro Turf football field, saw me coming, gasping, "I need a garbage can!!" and slapping my hand over my mouth desperately as my body heaved again.

"Over here!" he called out. "On the concrete!"

I just made it. Clinging to a chain-link fence, I left my breakfast there on the pavement.

"I'm so sorry!" I called out, miserably.

"It's okay!!" replied the volunteer. "I'll get you some water." A moment later, he was back, with a cold bottle of water and a sympathetic smile. "You're not the first today, actually," he said with a grin.

"Oh, that's good to know," I replied weakly. The water was wonderful, and I thanked him before escaping. Meanwhile, another volunteer took a bottle of water to wash away my mess.

My colleague found me a moment later. "How'd you do?" he called out.

"I just threw up."

I got a big smile at this. "Well, that's good! I bet your time is good, too."

Only a runner would say that. And only a runner who just threw up would nod in response.

And only a trainer (my friend Matt) would also respond to a text a little while later with, "That's good! Means you probably got a good time!"

"Yeah, and I can tell the boss that I didn't throw up on his fancy Astro Turf."

I don't know what's wrong with us.

Anyway, you'd think I'd come home and relax, but no. I had some cooking to do, a small mountain of laundry, and other things to take care of before another busy week. My kids have a concert on Tuesday night, but once that's done, my school year can wind down in a small flurry of room-cleaning, music-filing, and getting the kids who will be returning jazzed about the possibilities for next year...without actually telling them what the theme for Broadway & Beyond is. That's a surprise for August. But yes, there is a theme. There's already a Plan. Oh, it's good.

I still don't know my official time for today, and frankly, I don't really think it matters. What matters is that I pushed myself to new limits and finished a race even though my body was tired. Maybe I'm stupid, but I actually feel pretty good. A little sore, but good.

Hey, this is me we're talking about. Keeping it Wild and Absolutely True. Always.

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