Our time in Ostend, Belgium, for ClarinetFest continues to be inspirational on so many levels. At the opening concerts alone I sat and listened to some of the greatest iconic players of our instrument, people that I listened to religiously as a young clarinetist for inspiration and to learn my craft by example. These men were my heroes, my idols, and here I was seeing them and hearing them perform in Belgium as a professional clarinetist myself. How wonderful that they are still inspiring me and my students today.
With clarinet royalty…one grateful gal.
With my UAB soprano friend and colleague, Kristine, after our performance.
I am on the Board of the International Clarinet Association, and so am spending time in meetings and competitions during the festival, but am also getting to listen to jaw-dropping players from all over the world, from the incredible talent of those young clarinetists who made it into the finals of the Young Artist Competition to the legends, such as Giora Feidman, Karl Leister, Eddie Daniels, Charles Neidich, and so many others. I am inspired and grateful just to be here.
I am also finding pockets of time to enjoy the beautiful beach with Dan- even if it is often walking on the boardwalk to ClarinetFest venues or through watching the late sunsets from our hotel window. The sun doesn’t set until almost 10pm here, so plenty of time to enjoy it even after a long day.
A week from today we go home. I have to admit that part of me is ready to be back in my funky old house with my sweet animals, back to my healthy eating and exercise routines (someone please save me from Belgian chocolates and fries!)- back to routine in general. But…the other part of me, some wild corner, some wanderlust that rarely surfaces in my very routine life, is soaking up every single experience, every view, every person we meet, and excited for what the last week will bring here in Ostend, as well as what we will experience in Bruges, Brussels, and Copenhagen. What a wild and wonderful ride life is.