Our Midsummer’s Music Festival season must be imminent. I had one of my performer’s dreams, and it was so obvious. I’ve written about this kind of dream before. We all have them, even if we aren’t performers. We are trying to do something or get somewhere important, and just can’t seem to do it. For performers, it just seems a little more intense. In the last such dream I wrote about, I recall I was on stage and didn’t have enough clothes on. I was having to make sure the way I sat was very proper. I had gained new found understanding of what women who wear short skirts must go through.
This dream was much more basic and not nearly so sensational. We were at the first performance of the season. It happened to be a concert in a home, and even though I know these hosts well, the setting was quite different from their actual residence. The site of the concert was a spacious family room. It was getting near time to start, but nothing had been done to set the room up. It was a collection of many odd pieces – stuffed chairs, rockers, tables, large accent pieces, even an assortment of toys, and far too much of everything. I realized I had to quickly move things around and arrange chairs so we could have something that would function for our concert.
However, as I was doing this, some of the musicians started to come in. When I saw our pianist, Bill Koehler, it struck me like a sledge hammer. We had a rehearsal scheduled for our opening piece, a trio for clarinet, bassoon, and piano, a few hours earlier, and it was to be our only rehearsal (not at all realistic). I had totally forgotten about it! Our clarinetist and Bill had worked on the piece without me (two out of three may be great for a batter in baseball, but it’s terrible in music).
Our clarinetist this season is new, and in my dream, I had not yet met him. I went into survival mode. I knew the very opening of the work was tricky, so I said to him, “Tell me how you and Bill rehearsed this.” Since audience members were already milling around, I asked him to sing the beginning. After hearing his version, I said, “I’ll just follow you.” I hoped that once we got started, we could just forge ahead and keep it together (the actual piece is not that easy – many little wrinkles that need working out).
I went back to my efforts in moving furniture. There were many large pieces that made it difficult to arrange as a little concert hall, but I was making progress. Meanwhile, some of our other musicians came in. It was getting a little past starting time, and I wasn’t ready yet. Furthermore, I got the clarinetist confused with our oboist. I addressed one of them with the wrong name. Not a good way to start the season or a concert.
The funny thing is, when I asked the clarinetist how he and Bill had practiced the beginning of our piece, I could hear the actual notes in my head. They say some people dream in Technicolor. I now know that I can dream actual musical sounds. Big deal, it was still a wrenching dream, and worst of all, I didn’t find out how it turned out!
Reprinted with permission from the Door County Publishing.