Jitter Bugs…

We were asked to do our first concert here at The Banff Centre for the Midweek Medley Concert and as much as I’d like to say that I was really excited to be playing, I wasn’t! I have a bit of a problem with my steroids at the moment and have uncontrollable hand jitters, shakes, wibbles and wobbles. It’s not good. Now that I’m well, the dosage of Prednisolone is too high for my body to cope with, plus the added bonus of nerves and adrenaline, I was a wreck! Any violinist out there will know the feeling of bow shakes, it creeps up on you when you’re on stage and trying to play with a long smooth bow suddenly seems to be the most impossible thing on earth. It’s totally terrifying and I am very fortunate to say that it has only happened to me a couple of times in my life. So, here I am in Canada making my first impressions to a room full of musicians and I could barely hold my violin let alone play it, but the show must go on. I hold my head up high, smile, and try to breath slowly and calmly as I play. Alas this was not my night and the demons were let into my mind and like creepy crawlies all over my body I had no hope of taming these horrible jitter bugs. People were lovely about our playing, our musicianship and a general feeling of success was almost felt. It’s important for me to rationalise this awful experience and know that there was simply nothing I could do and that this was not my fault. However this is far easier said than done! I was so upset, angry and even had to endure conversations and inquisitive remarks about the shaking bow incident, re-living it was almost worse than the actual event.

My first week here was a slightly odd one and it definitely took me a little while to feel settled. I have absolutely loved my little practise hut and have found myself doing the most incredible work with wonderful focus. I don’t have to worry about anything, dinner, the washing, people to call, bills to pay, bliss! The cold temperature went down to -38 which was unlike anything I have ever experienced, a thousand tiny burning needles in your skin if left uncovered to the wind. Icicles in your nose and at one point I actually heard my hair freezing, a sound similar to rice crispies popping! We were selected to play at the Midweek Concert where we performed Dvorak Four Romantic Pieces and again at the Friday night’s concert also in the gorgeous Rolston Hall. We did Janacek for the Friday night concert and it went down really well and luckily I felt much more comfortable than the first concert. Nick has totally fallen in love with the Steinway in Rolston and has plans to steal it, perhaps slightly too big to fit in his suitcase!

This is Farrally, our Halls.

Kinnear Centre (on the right)- where the amazing Library is and also Maclab Bar :)

The amazing and awesome Marimba Duo – Greg and Ben who gave an incredible concert including an Israeli piece I shall never forget. I was so fascinated by the way they breathed together, had crucial eye contact and created sounds I never knew possible on a Marimba.

Gorgeous mountains!

A fellow resident said to me, ‘Don’t think of this place like an institution, we are all just a bunch of hillbillies thrown together exploring our creativity taking inspiration from the nature and people that cross our pathways.’ This has totally transformed my way of thinking about my time here and I am now feeling wonderfully motivated, exhilarated and yet also very peaceful. This place is filled with the most wonderful people, poets, painters, photographers, dancers, musicians and although it took me a while to feel comfortable I can safely say that I know already it will be hard to leave.

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