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  • Peter LaBella, violin

Coming Back Better Than Ever

After the shock of The Ring cancellation, we search for a way forward. After grieving our loss, we approach our instruments again, as we do every day, for we have as long as we can remember. But what to do? Preparing for The Ring is an all-consuming project. What do you do when it's suddenly taken away?

Playing an instrument is like being a shark. You move forward or die. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. As an opera orchestra player, you've just had the pinnacle of your career cancelled. You can't play The Ring at home by yourself. We were 90% there. That energy has to go someplace.

As orchestral players, we focus on being members of a team. Our individual concerns are sublimated for the greater good. During the preparation of The Ring, rehearsals are long, and our individual practice time is limited by how many hours in the day we can actually play and not get hurt. There are more notes in Wagner than there are hours in the day to practice them. In our efforts to produce our parts on demand we often neglect our bodies to the point of injury. Ends justify means.

One thing we can do in this forced time apart is to take a step back and examine our individual technique. Without the pressure to perform, we can take the time to carefully rebuild what's weakened or broken. Injuries can heal, and perhaps subtle changes can be made to better withstand the rigors of the next season. In spite of what we have lost, we now have a unique opportunity. Each of us will spend hours every day retooling and refining our playing so that when we finally can play together again, we will come back stronger.

Just because you are not hearing us now doesn't mean we have not already begun to prepare for our next meeting. We will be back, and we will be better than ever.

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