Most performing musicians are very busy during the year with their hometown gigs, but with down time in the summer, migrate to sometimes far-flung beautiful places to make music in the summer time. The Britt Festival for our family has meant countless memories - for instance, Robb proposed to me as we perched on rocks on the bank of Crater Lake in Oregon during our first Britt season. In March 2003, one week after I had won the Principal Second Violin job at Britt, I realized I was expecting triplets, which we then brought to the Britt hillside at age 9 months to crawl around on blankets during rehearsals. My Mom became part of the Britt Family that year, tirelessly helping us out with the babies so we could continue to be part of the orchestra. This year, she got to Britt weeks before we did, to meet with her dear friend Soren, resident of Jacksonville and long-time Britt patron.
It's not easy leaving the house for a month. Cat-sitters need to be lined up, the house needs to be secured, the mail needs to be stopped. I go into withdrawal being away from my computer for so long (maybe it's finally time to get a laptop). And then there is the long road trip ahead. Eight days we are giving ourselves this time, and we are going via the Grand Canyon, which none of us has seen yet. Each year we try to see a new National Park, which gives us something to look forward to as we log long miles each day. We will see family along the way as well. When we lived in Spain, the trip was even longer, and we asked ourselves every year whether we were just crazy for putting ourselves through it again.
Once we arrive though, and sit in the first rehearsal, which is in so many humorous and welcoming ways exactly the same as it was 18 years ago, I remember why we made the long journey yet again. And in the first night time rehearsal, as the sun sets and the stars come out, I hear the night-time peepers singing along with our music and feel an indescribable peace. A deer may stray by in front of the stage while we play. I'm surrounded by friends from far and wide who also come back year after year.
Time to go!