I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything quite like what happened on the 4th of July this year. It was in fact something many of us said at rehearsal in the pouring rain that afternoon.
The day got started at the early hour of 5:15am for my 6th Peachtree Road Race 10k. You know, just me and my closest 59,999 friends running down Peachtree Road in the lovely Atlanta humidity. While I ran a really strong race, and still managed a PR there are things that still bug me a little. The start was awful. Somehow I went from standing just off the front of the corral to being all the way in the back by the time we got to the start. I knew I was going to have to make up time when I was stuck and practically walking right off the start. So much for that awesome qualifying time I turned in… I pretty much followed my race plan to a T, but my legs were really heavy, and I wasn’t going as fast as I knew that I could run the course and finished a good couple of minutes off of my goal time. Despite being nearly backed into a couple of times, and having to get my own water off of tables I got it done.
Then it was off to the next adventure, the 4th of July outdoor concert with fireworks. Because holidays are not holidays for musicians. The day before a colleague and I carpooled up to the double rehearsals we had, and talked about how awesome it would be if it rained, and we could do an indoor rehearsal instead of playing outside in 90+ degree heat (for the record it was 94 when we started rehearsal Wednesday afternoon). About two songs into rehearsal we got our wish, but we were outside in the rain.
Now, this may not be something a lot of people realize, but the majority of instruments up on stage are made of wood. Rain, and expensive finished instruments are like oil and water. It’s not that they just don’t mix, but water can do some significant damage. Luckily, we made conductor stop, and since our case were on stage we all packed up. What most of us didn’t realize is that there was only one thing keeping us dry.
If they hadn’t held down the flag everyone & everything would have been soaked from the 40+ mph winds that were whipping the raining around. Apparently I didn’t need to take that shower after the race… I was really happy I had decided not to sell my old violin, and was using it for the concert instead of my new one. Fortunately, the only thing that got damp at my stand was our music, which we saved as quickly as we could.
The rest of the day was a bit sweaty. The storms finally moved out so we could muddy our way through rehearsal while the percussion section tried to dry out and read soaking wet music. I realized I had cracked my front windows so the car didn’t get so hot, and discovered a soaking wet driver’s seat. Awesome! Some friends and I decided to make the most of our free time, and set out for an early dinner to discover that our only option was a Mellow Mushroom pizza place. They had one thing I could eat, a make your own salad. Great, I thought. I can order lots of veggies, and make a nice big salad. I’ll be okay. I wanted to cry when it came to the table. It was tiny with severely overcooked chicken. This would not get me through a concert after a race. Thank goodness I still had some snacks left in the car!
Our portion of the concert started at 8:15, and I have to say it’s probably the best I’ve seen this group play. They were still obstacles to overcome. We were baking in the humidity, and stage lighting. I’m pretty sure I sweated more during that concert than I did during the race that morning. They didn’t do stand lights for us, so everyone from my stand (the 2nd stand) in the first violins was in the dark after the sun set. But until we got to the last page of the 1812 overture I knew that I had done my own individual part extremely well. That last page, well I couldn’t hear anything because of the percussion. I think I played the right notes, but honestly I couldn’t hear anything. And so that brought my crazy 4th of July to a close. I woke up the next morning feeling like I had been run over by a truck. I’m glad the beach vacation starts tomorrow!