My red boots are special. Sometimes you are walking by an item and it flings itself into your arms. I do love good shoes but I am not a boot hog. I would rather have one pair of awesome than four pairs of okay. I'll be hobbling down the hall at the nursing home in these red DJP boots. They are not for everyday wear because I want them to last. They have never seen a cloudy day. And I never have to ask if they make me look cute because they are sassy.
Now you know what I will be wearing to the symphony tomorrow night. My love of big music came early in my grade school years. In the 60's and 70's, going to public school in Dallas offered endless opportunities. Music education was a regular part of my school day.
Once a year, we celebrated Symphony Day. Late in the fall, we would bundle up in our coats, stand in straight lines and march out to the shiny silver city buses lined up along the curbs of our school property. Texas sunshine filled the limitless blue sky, turning the early morning frost on the front lawn into lacy silver.
Students in our school walked, biked or were driven to our neighborhood school. The ride to Music Hall was a part of the day's excitement. The bus windows were still cold from being parked overnight. Slipping into the window seat, a child could press their cheek to the cold glass and feel warm air rise from a tiny vent just below the window. Driving through Dallas in the morning, seeing people coming out of apartment buildings, others standing at bus stops waiting, grocery carts lined up outside of the market waiting for a new day, men in caps and jackets filling up cars and cleaning windshields.
After weeks of listening to music while our teacher held up cardboard pictures of instruments, we had arrived at The Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park. Thousands of students from the city schools filed into the expansive concert hall, filling all of the seats. We strained our necks to see the ceiling so far above our heads. Heavy velvet curtains rose, revealing a stark white shell full of people holding real instruments.
The conductor was now our teacher, directing each section of the woodwinds, the brass, and the strings to play individually, to teach our ears the sounds of live music. Then everything stopped and the orchestra played as one.Even though I was young, I remember losing my sense of self and becoming a silent partner in the anticipation of where the music would go next.
From the darkened hall, we exited into the noon sun where hundreds of silver buses pooled through our squinting eyes. On the way back to school, we ate sack lunches. When we arrived, the lawn was green again and our wool coats warm and scratchy.
I've been listening to the ASO performance of Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 during Philip Mann's inaugural season 2010. He has never missed a beat but he has come close to conducting himself into a flying leap backwards onto the front seats. His enthusiasm is fun to watch. And come to think of it, he has lots of red hair!
The ASO has programs available for the state's schoolchildren. See arkansassymphony,org