Musical Medicine

With ‘Corky’, the Emporia State University band mascot. 

We are back on the road this morning to our next stop on our Midwest recital tour. Our masterclass and recital at University of Kansas went very well- a fun and varied program of clarinet duo pieces, some with our wonderful collaborative pianist. I feel so fortunate every single time I get to take the stage with my best friend, Diane, whether we are performing or teaching master classes together. We complement each other well, and with our over thirty years of friendship, we are at the place where we can often communicate with a simple look- or smile- and say so much. What a gift. 

  The beautiful sky in Emporia as we headed to our recital. 

Our roles have reversed this trip. Where before it was me who was worried and preoccupied with my mother’s care, now it is Diane making the phone calls to check in on her mother each day. She is a wonderful daughter, and I hear the love and concern in her voice as she asks her mother about her day. It is so scary, so much pressure to try to maintain a busy career, a ‘normal’ life, while part of your brain is always focused on worrying about your mother (or father, or child, or any loved one). 

  Warming up…..

I was extra proud of Diane as I sat across from her on stage. No matter what she is going through personally, be it breast cancer treatments or dealing with her mother’s healthcare, she is a total professional on stage. She is my hero, and I feel so blessed to have this amazing woman as my best friend in life. I hope that during this trip our musical ‘medicine’ will help to give Diane strength for the days ahead and the difficult decisions she will have to make on behalf of her mother. Time together to laugh, to cry, to talk deep into the night -the things that sometimes only a best friend can understand. Not to solve problems, necessarily, but to provide a support that is unwavering, no matter time or distance or situation. We will recharge each other, sharing our passion for music and the clarinet with others, and then we will both head back to our busy lives. Apart, but always connected by the heart.   

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