I spent last week with Andy (who was on fall break from teaching) in New York City hanging out with my sisters from Edugaytion, shopping, and most importantly, eating. The trip was also scheduled so that I could have dinner and a couple of drinks with my colleagues from down in Nassau, Bahamas, who were in NYC on a school trip. Everyone that knows me knows that I love New York, and all of the serendipitous things that can happen there. Upon meeting my Bahamian friends at the Baryshnikov Performing Arts Centre, I got to meet one of the New York Philharmonic cellists, Wei, who is friends with the Assistant Principal Bassoonist here in Detroit. I walked into a couple of shops and bought some nice items, including a new pair of winter boots, and discovered some nice restaurants in the Village. Hanging out at Stonewall was cool too, considering it's historic purpose in gay culture.
What was probably one of my and Andy's favorite adventures, though, was dining at Serendipity 3, the cafe that was featured in the movie I mentioned earlier. We were there just in time to get a table without any issues (when we tried at Christmas it was utterly impossible) and the portions were ridiculously huge! The frozen hot chocolate was decadent, and I'm still grateful to have had the means to take such an important trip.
I say that this trip was important because I needed to escape a little drama. A few weeks back I made some comments (very general comments) about the audition culture in the United States, based on my experiences dealing with auditions in a number of orchestras across the country. One of the greatest things about the fellowship I currently hold is that I get to see what being in a big time orchestra is REALLY like, and I take that wealth of knowledge and spread it to whomever asks, because I feel that's part of my responsibility to my generation. Apparently, someone didn't like that too much, and went on to notify someone that I was relinquishing confidential information. The timing of the whole situation was off, and I do indeed acknowledge the fact that my words were misconstrued based on what was going on at the time, but I really didn't appreciate someone going to run and "tell on me" as if I needed to be punished for having a conversation about something that could teach people like me trying to further themselves in the classical music industry.
It's water under the bridge at this point, but I beseech anyone reading this to not only watch what you say, but watch what you feel an obligation to go and whisper in someone else's ear. Whoever had a problem with my comments should have come to me, instead of making a point to try and rattle my cage. This is all very serendipitous, though, because I had issues coming home from NYC and had to take some of my own inner advice.
I pay for business class and select upgrades so that I am one of the first on the plane, to ensure a spot for my bassoon. The gate agent in Philadelphia felt that my bassoon needed to be checked, and when I told her I've never had a problem before and that I'd talk to a flight attendant about it, she said "It's not about the flight attendants - it's about me doing MY JOB!" (Yes, she said it just like that). Needless to say, my bassoon was not going under the plane, so I took the gate check pass and got right on the plane without being bothered by it. In fact, the FAA on January 29, 2013, declared that musical instruments that can fit in overhead compartments of a plane shall not be checked or considered oversized. Clearly this lady didn't know that, and I had half a mind to call someone and complain about her. I didn't, though. I know how it feels for someone to sneak around you instead of dealing with the issue head on, so I let it pass.