I finally got my cello put back together (FINALLY!) and assembled my cello throne (related to the Drum Throne rather than the Iron Throne). Took me forever to thread that A-string back in the peg – I don’t remember it being that difficult. Did I just break a lot of strings in High School, or am I not breaking enough now? At any rate, it’s back on, the bridge has been slightly adjusted and it’s within a step and a half from 440. Didn’t want to snap it from over-tuning after all that hard work and swearing.
Trying to remember the first time I changed a string was a challenge. It was surely around 6th grade, when I was a Srs Cello Player who thought she was going to grow up to be even more Srs. I could not have predicted how far off my life would be.
Let me make it clear – I count myself as incredibly fortunate and pretty well-off, even if my credit sucks, I just barely bought a new car at nearly 40, and I will never own a home. I regret absolutely none of the turns my life has taken, even if I’m not a two-time Tony award winning belter with a house full of cats. But as far back as I can remember I had always assumed I’d be a Patron of the Arts. Maybe not a name-on-the-lobby kind of Patron, but at least a season-ticket holder. Ha!
A couple of weeks ago a friend took me to the closing concert of the Piatagorsky Cello Festival. It was awesome and I learned a few things: Ron Leonard turns the cello into the whole orchestra. Misha Maisky cannot be contained on a mere chair and must have a super-tufted piano bench. Steven Isserlis will wait until you’re finished coughing before starting. There are multiple legitimate ways to hold the instrument. Sadly, I was not able to determine how busty ladies dealt with it, as there were none to be seen. In fact, there were no female soloists whatsoever. (I believe I missed the single lady-cellist earlier in the week). The cello choir, which involved many fabulous young cellists from the Colburn School, was a good deal more diverse both in gender and racial mix. I approve.
But I think the most important thing I learned is that I’m not going to be a patron of the arts, no matter how grown-up I am. I’m not even sure I’m welcome in Disney Hall. As with the Theatre’s Playbill, the LA Phil distributes an advertisement supported program. And what ads! Within the first five pages I was informed of a $1.4 million dollar condo with marble bathrooms among other things, directed to purchase my next Bentley at a dealership in Beverly Hills, and exposed to the relative merits of Bosendorfer grand pianos to fill up my empty parlor.
I know it costs a lot to run a symphony. I certainly don’t begrudge talented musicians being paid what they’re worth. But going to a theatre or classical music even on rush seats, or with GoldStar tickets, or on a friend’s dime makes me feel somehow sneaky and bohemian. And more than even the late-buying of a starter vehicle or the ownership of a charge card marketed to 18 year olds, it makes me feel a bit mutton-dressed-as-lamb. My enthusiasm doesn’t make me a Serious classical music lover if I’m not the target-market for an off-site temperature-controlled wine storage service. In a place where a decent ticket to a musical is around $75 (and yes, far cheaper than Broadway), where single ticket prices for the Philharmonic are an afterthought, hidden many clicks away from the subscription packages, I don’t know who’s going to be the next generation of arts supporters. Can you imagine being a public school kid, going to see the orchestra and getting excited about it, only to be confronted with mentions of first class travel and antique auctions? I don’t know about you, but I’d assume this type of thing just wasn’t for me.
At any rate, my absurd cigar-box of a cello’s together. I have a place to sit. My bow’s nowhere needing a rehair. Maybe I can get a sponsor so I can upgrade once the student loans are paid off. Think that Ferrari dealer would like to buy an ad on my blog?