Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Friend Mic

What a pleasure to witness my friend Mic debut as conductor of Symphony of the Sierra this weekend.

I first met Mic in the 80s when she was publishing a local literary magazine. As a fledgling writer, I wanted desperately to be published in this magazine. Alas, I was a day late for the magazine was folding, but Mic wrote the kindest of letters explaining that had she continued producing the magazine, she most certainly would have published my piece. Not long after, I met Mic in person at a poetry reading where she performed her signature "act" of soliciting words from the audience and composing a poem on the spot from the words tossed her way. In short order, Mic made an impression on me. I recognized a talented, generous, and creative human being.

Since that time, our paths have crossed numerous times at poetry readings and in writing classes and groups. When Mic was completing an online degree, I facilitated her exams at the college. When I was preparing to publish my book, she lent her photographic expertise to the cover design. Two of my grand-kids have taken music lessons from Mic, and I've enjoyed summer performances at the Jamestown Park given by the volunteer band she organized and led.

I was also among the guests at a party that celebrated Mic as the recipient of the prestigious Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation award for commitment to teaching children to play and enjoy music. Mic had received the $10,000 award at Carneige Hall in New York before friends gathered locally to applaud her.

So it was with great pleasure that I attended the Winter Concert of the Symphony of the Sierra and Mic's debut as conductor. WHOA!! There are not words to describe the manner in which the music infused me with emotion. Always moved by the sound of the violin, I wept through the first piece, a string quartet by Tchaikovsky. From there, the sound took me from poignant to joyous, from foot-tapping to heart-pounding.

Mic had pulled together an unusual array of musicians and melded them into a truly fine orchestra. Watching her conduct with enthusiasm, intelligence, and grace was the frosting on the cake of one terrific afternoon.

Mic is one of my most remarkable friends: creative and gentle and unbelievable compassionate. And she is giving our community a sublime gift as conductor of Symphony of the Sierra.

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