I’m terrible with goodbyes. Because how do you encapsulate your appreciation for someone in a hurried moment? It’s one of those instances where words fail me, but oh well, goodbyes must be said. They’re just a reminder that while goodbyes might seem paltry and rushed, the depth of affection and care we’ve come to have for each of our 11 fellows goes far beyond the words. We’ve gotten to enjoy each of their unique personalities and talents, and sincerely hope that they will have fulfilling careers and stay lifelong friends of Garth Newel.
The last week for the fellows revolved around the two culminating performances of the two works they’ve been working on since their arrival here: Wednesday’s concert at Green Bank Observatory, and yesterday’s showcase at Herter Hall. Initially new to these pieces and to each other, it’s amazing to see how much they’ve come to own these works. Their performances were richly interpreted; full of imagination, conviction, and a sincere desire to communicate.
So as could be expected, the fellows were rehearsing and practicing most of the time, with the occasional coaching and lesson to exhaust them further. Happily, the PEAPs arrived to save the day! Louise took Ben and his Beethoven group out on Tuesday evening to Fort Lewis Lodge
Gretta and Lew invited the WHOLE gang over for dinner the next day, which was incredibly generous and highly appreciated by all of us!
Phil and Becky Deemer too Haesol and Ben out for dinner on Friday, which was lovely.
Then, Teresa, despite having to play a concert on Saturday, thought it would be a treat for the fellows to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, so she rushed back from our rehearsals in order to host them all.
Saturday and Sunday morning the fellows were able to rehearse in the hall, with a few drop-in coachings. (Besides the printed times, they never know when we’re going to show up. Buahahahaha). There was a last minute change in plans in Saturday’s musical ice-breaker, as our original speaker, Paul Moravec, had to cancel due to travel complications. So Teresa scrambled and came up with an alternative plan, where we would do a sort of Q+A with our 11 fellows for the audience, which proved to be a fascinating trip not only for the audience, but for us as well. Half an hour was definitely not enough time for all the questions we all had, and there were loud groans of displeasure from the audience when we had to stop. Thank you to the Fellows for helping us out in the last minute change!
We then hurried off to play Saturday’s concert, starting with Mozart’s g minor piano quartet, continuing with Paul Moravec’s work that we commissioned in 2011, and ending with Chausson’s Piano Trio. It was a high drama program that not only left us exhausted, but our instruments as well. We played the 3rd mvt of the Mozart with such gutso that Isaac’s sleeve caught the edge of his cello and the front ripped off with this thundering heart-rendering crack. We all thought surely something broke, but amazingly, he kept playing! It wasn’t until we got to intermission that we realized that his cello really did break. But he was such a trooper, and continued performing. How bad ass is that?
Sunday’ concert by the fellows filled us with immense joy. They played with such energy, commitment and passion; everyone brought their A-game, and their love for music and for sharing shone through. And if you thought it was just for show, after the concert and picnic, the fellows continued to perform! Many had parents and friends visiting who wanted to hear the pieces they had played on Wednesday, and the Fellows happily obliged. Something about the impromptu nature of the performance gave each group a spontaneity that made the music sparkle. Maybe it’s because they didn’t have time to get nervous. Or maybe it’s because they finally knew this was a place where sharing and love were the only values that mattered.
Our relationship with these 11 young musicians is just beginning. When I hung out with them on the last night, I was still finding all sorts of surprising new things about them. For example, Ben finds irrepressible glee in getting close to chipmunks, Andrew does an amazing Celine Dion impersonation, Haesol makes cute little “meep” sounds when she hugs people, Sarah has an excellent memory for people…and on and on and on. We will miss you all!