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 - http://www.humboldt.edu/brass/ 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?