When I first started my musical career, I was a peripatetic violin teacher for Oxfordshire County Council. This meant traveling around with a car boot full (that’s a trunk full in the US) of violins of different sizes, and music of all sorts, stopping off at rural primary schools where I would teach small groups of children for an hour or two before packing up and heading off to the next school.
I also played regularly for various freelance orchestras, including one called Orchestra da Camera, which played at locations throughout the West of England — in the ancient stone cathedrals of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester, as well as other churches and halls where the temperature usually ranged from tolerable to freezing.
So it seems that I’ve always traveled around to work. The idea of going to one location and sitting in one place all day is very alien to me; and although by some standards I haven’t made much of a “living” this way, it seems to me like a fine way to live. After all, when I go to work, I go to play!
Nowadays, the travel has become less frequent, but over a greater distance. I no longer travel to schools to teach (or over the hill to Willits) but now I divide my time between the Mendocino Coast, and Oxford, England. At the end of August, I begin to feel my wings start to itch, like the swallows that we would see in England at the end of the summer holidays, lining up on the telephone wires, preparing for their great flight to Africa for the winter. But instead of heading off to warmer climes, I am getting ready to go to England for the winter. Hmmmm. My friends in England think I’ve got everything backwards, and that I should be leaving England in the winter, not returning.
In any case, the wonders of modern technological communications mean that I can keep in touch with my friends on the Coast while I’m in England, and I can even write this blog and let you know what’s going on with my friends in the Symphony of the Redwoods. I’ll be back in early March, and will resume playing with the Symphony for the final concert of the season.
When I moved to Mendocino in 1993, I had no idea that there was an orchestra of this caliber in the area. I fell in love (as so many others have done) with the natural beauty of the area, and the wonderful people; but I’m not sure that I would have stayed if it hadn’t been for the rich cultural opportunities that exist here. It’s a unique combination; let’s make sure we look after both. Play in the orchestra, go to concerts and invite your friends, have fun at fundraisers, volunteer your help, make a donation, become a sponsor. Spread the word. Live music inspires!