Part of my living is collaborating on school concerts, and I am blessed to work with many fine conductors who teach at the middle and high school levels in Habersham and surrounding counties. It’s also a wonderful way to meet new people and learn new music. This season of the year I’m extra busy with holiday concerts.

Because of my profession, my schedule is different than most people I know. I teach or rehearse most days; then I perform almost every evening. Between private studio lessons after school, church responsibilities on Sundays and Wednesdays, and multiple concerts, it’s hard to have much free time for social engagements. Fortunately, my friends understand.

However, even my closest friends wonder about the amount of music I have to prepare on a weekly basis. When talking about the stacks of music I learn, I always praise Mom’s fortitude for making me into the musician I am. We battled it out for years as I spent literally hours on the piano stool, sometimes mad and other times furious, while my friends played after school sports or did other fun things.

She was brutally determined to make me play. Yes, I’m certain there was a small kernel of talent she saw. (Indeed, she thought all of us were talented and made my siblings play the piano, too.)  She took me to the best teachers – Sister Suzanne at St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN and Ruth George at Truett-McConnell in Cleveland, GA –and then she sent me off to the School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, for high school. If I thought Mom was tough, those teachers all took it to a new level!

I think of Mom’s tenacity almost every time I play. She used to take great delight in my playing. She loved to listen to my students and would cheer them on, too. I think she still enjoys having the music in her house; it’s one of the myriad of reasons I moved my studio out to her house a few years ago.

I am so grateful for the gift of music. I’m grateful for the financial investment from Mom and Dad as well as the time and effort it took them to be my chauffeur to lessons and competitions. Since I do music every day, I cannot imagine what I would do without it. I joke, but it’s true: I would have no marketable skills were it not for music!

This month is crazy busy and I am grateful. Here we go!

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