Monday, March 9, 2009

Counting My Blessings

Growing up, I heard A LOT, “Count your blessings.” Well, now I am. 

1 – I am married to a wonderful woman. Linda is the ideal mate for me; kind, considerate, smart, funny, tolerant. Almost 22 years of marriage is pretty darned good in this day and age. Her smile STILL melts my heart. 

2 – I had a great career with the old San Jose Symphony. I was able to purchase a home in California, with a swimming pool. I played the entire major tuba repertoire with an unbelievably talented collection of musicians, an AMAZING orchestra. The Brahms and Mozart that Cleve did brought tears to my eyes! All the while my best friend was sitting right next to me! While the new symphony, under Andrew Bales, is doing great, my personal contract with them is not very good. I don’t play much, and compared to my other income streams, it is the lowest. It’s odd how the old symphony was my life and the new orchestra is the least important project with which I am involved. I’m playing even less next season. BUT, Andrew has agreed to let me conduct a band concert in August. (More on this later). 

3 through 6 (in no particular order) - I conduct a GREAT Wind Ensemble. I conduct a great Tuba Ensemble. I conduct a GREAT Community Band. I conduct a superb group of musicians totally committed to playing in the Silicon Valley Brass Band. Am I lucky, or what? Recently, a conducting colleague told me, “You have the PERFECT position.” Yeah, I guess I do. 

7 – I am surrounded with truly exceptional human beings. I KNOW that at any time, if I were in trouble, I could call on a NUMBER of people to help me out. There is no doubt that SOMEONE would be there. A mentor told me many years ago, “A measure of a man is in the company he keeps.” WHOA! How did THIS happen? I pray sincerely that I really deserve this. 

8 – Excellent health. Yeah, I have the aches and pains of a 54-year old body. But I am healthy. Knock on wood, no illnesses or injuries. No lingering ‘war wounds’ or hidden viruses. If I can keep diabetes at bay, I’ll be pretty lucky. Yeah, yeah, I’ll watch the visits to Luigi’s. 

9 – A generally happy, optimistic outlook on life. I hear a lot of complaining in my business. Somehow, I have managed to avoid this negatively affecting my appreciation for my craft and my overall outlook on making music. EVERY Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night, and every Saturday afternoon, I go home with a HUGE smile on my face (see #3-6 above).  PLUS, I think Linda has a lot to do with this. 

10 – Being Union President. This is an IMMENSE source of pride for me. I feel like I am a position to actually HELP my friends. I have negotiated several successful Collective Bargaining Agreements so far, and I look forward to several more not only this year, but for the rest of my tenure. How many people feel like that they can actually change their lot in life? I CAN make a difference. I can help! 

11 – BCMW -  Brass Chamber Music, what can be better? 

12 – I am blessed in many small ways each day, but these have risen to the top.

What are YOUR blessings?


  1. I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately because so many people are truly suffering. You do have to count your blessings.

    Here are mine:
    1. I have a good job that has value (public library), & I make good money.
    2. I play in ensembles that I love (SVBB, OCB, & South Bay Brass in particular), & I get to play in pro groups occassionally.
    3. I'm madly in love with my husband, who is also a trumpet player, and we play in most groups together.
    4. I have really good, lifelong friends that I cherish.
    5. I'm relatively healthy.
    6. I've had an interesting life, varied jobs & musical experiences, with many successes.
    7. We have a beautiful house in the Santa Cruz mountains. I still can't believe that.
    8. We have wonderful, crazy cats to hold & play with.

  2. And I am SO glad that you are in my life (see number 7)!

  3. you're a great guy Tony... seeing this shows it even more. Sorry to hear about Linda... things will find it's way to work out though... they always do... Til then, do what you guys can... Will keep both of you in my thoughts and prayers... XD

  4. EVERYONE should count their blessings as you have done, always, but especially during these challenging times.

    For me: I am so very fortunate to have James in my life; live in a beautiful part of the world; have wonderful family and friends nearby; and by some miracle, making my way as a musician.

  5. Thank you, friends, for your kind words and sharing YOUR blessings!

  6. 1. Blessed by the church I attend and the God I worship.
    2. My marriage of 44 years to a wonderful woman.
    3. The blessing of the opportunity to play horn.
    4. 3 beautiful children and 7 wonderful grandsons.
    5. A very successful 43 year career in electronics manufacturing.
    6. A brass quintet with people who are also friends.
    6. A conductor I respect.
    7. Numerous friends who care.
    8. In reasonable health at 67 and counting.
    9. A father who was thinking of his return to me,his 3 year old son, just before he was killed in WWII.
    10. Mozart

  7. Here are my blessings
    1)I have a great family who supports me in anything that I do
    2)I have aa great pastor at church who helps me pull through in tough times
    3)I have one of the best tuba teachers in the world :)
    4)I have a band conductor who has changed my thought of music in so many ways.
    5)Having the change from clarinet from tuba was a God given fortune, and I thank him for that, for that has changed my life

  8. You forgot to mention your doggies, Tony!

    My list:
    1. an amazing husband (screwed that up the first time, but REALLY got it right this time
    2. 3 great doggies that make us really happy every day
    3. a great new house in a beautiful neighborhood, with lots of great projects waiting to be done, and a MUSIC ROOM
    4. good friends that support me and love me
    5. a good job with growth opportunity and better pay than most my age
    6. music - I don't have as much time for this as I'd like, but most people my age are on 20-year hiatus.
    7. my health is great, except for the weight I've gained lately. I'm working on that...