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Remembering Joy

March 29, 2013

I started this blog on the lawn at Tanglewood listening to the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, a piece of music I cherish. There is nothing special about that. Many, many people love the piece, of course. Its one of the most beloved in the classical canon.

For me the piece evokes nearly all the happiness of my lifetime. I first heard the tune to Ode to Joy at Waukeela Camp for Girls where we would celebrate our strength to the tune (“Like a pine tree in the forest lifting its branch up to the sky” try it – it does work). Like my mother an my aunt before me, my sister with me, and my niece following me, I loved being at Waukeela. I learned about myself and my obligation to the world there. I visit now and am immediately transported to those summer days swimming and climbing and singing and learning about life with the girls lucky enough to be there.

One day, early in college, I heard Ode To Joy in the background while I was shopping. That’s the Waukeela song, I said. That’s Beethoven’s 9th Symphony replied my companion. I was 18 and living in New York for the first time and the piece became seared with the memories of promise from those early years.

Spending my career in classical music means that I heard the piece many, many times, but I never tired of it. And every time I heard it, I remembered Wauleela (and sang the song for my unsuspecting, and unimpressed, friends joining me for a concert) and my heady days as a co-ed. The job of a lifetime came when I was hired by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I loved the orchestra and its mission and more than anything, I loved spending the summer with them at Tanglewood. The traditional final concert of every Tanglewood season is Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and I love to lie on the glorious lawn drinking wine and remembering the summer.

Last summer I spent that day, not only remembering the summer, but my love of the years I’d spent with the orchestra as I anticipated my next move. It was, fittingly, the final piece I heard the orchestra play while I was still an employee.

Since then I’ve left the BSO, had an amazing adventure in Nepal, moved to NYC to forge my way as a freelancer. Things have been simultaneously exciting and tough.

Today is a beautiful Good Friday in Brooklyn and I’m looking forward to the weekend visiting the Berkshires. Some good twists have come in lately giving me confidence in my professional decisions, but I’m still a bit nervous about whether I made the right choices or not.

As I do every morning, and especially when I need a little ego boost, I turned to Facebook where the first piece in my feed was a flash mob featuring Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. And I am joyous.

It is a beautiful reminder of my happiest times and, more importantly, that they keep coming. Especially when you don’t expect them.

Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy Spring. Happiness!

 

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3 Comments
  1. Lynn permalink

    I totally thought of you when I saw this a couple days ago. Happy Everything to you!! I think the bird was a omen of good things to come.

  2. David Winn permalink

    I miss you every day. You always brought me Joy. Have a great Easter.

    >>> Mountains and Moxie 3/29/2013 11:50 AM >>>

    kathleenjd posted: “I started this blog on the lawn at Tanglewood listening to the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, a piece of music I cherish. There is nothing special about that. Many, many people love the piece, of course. Its one of the most”

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