Bay Area, California

This last week, I have spent a very memorable, enjoyable week in California’s Bay Area, playing with the Diablo Symphony and Maestra Joyce Johnson-Hamilton.  It was an entirely pleasant week, as I stayed with my “West Coast family”, Nora and Ron.  Their hospitality, warm personalities, and love for good food and culture have made every stay with them (I believe this is the third?) delightful.  The concerts were wonderful as well–I felt that the orchestra and I grew closer over the course of the week, and Maestra was extremely easy to work with.  The Scottish Fantasy went well, followed by Salut D’Amour as an encore, and I hope we can collaborate again.

Nonmusically speaking, it was a productive week as well!  :)  The restaurants and shopping are to die for–we simply don’t have this caliber of food in the Midwest.  We went down to the Golden Gate Bridge, and viewed the San Francisco skyline (quite impressive) from the Marin Headlands.  Interestingly enough, we were meandering through San Francisco when we came across Nancy Pilosi’s house (Speaker of the House, for those living under a rock), with many protestors camped outside (with cheap takeout Chinese, I might add).  I picked up some gifts for friends, and went on an afternoon walk in the 85-degree weather, exploring the suburbs.  Sunday-Friday had ideal weather, with the first blossoms blooming, not a cloud in the sky, and seasonal depression nonexistent.  In addition, I visited my favorite salon anywhere–La Moda, in Walnut Creek, with the characterful Saundra (a Romanian woman who has just recently been declared cancer-free after a harrowing time).  Only my third time that she has worked her magic on me, Saundra is always a highlight of a California trip.  Finally, after my last concert with the Symphony and a dinner hosted by Nora and Ron, my manager and I went for desserts/drinks with a record producer friend, and proceeded to laugh and share stories late into the night.  It was a wonderful conclusion to a memorable week!  Now, returning to the snowbelt and freezing temperatures will be quite a shock!  Brahms Concerto in Bowling Green, Ohio…see you there!  :)

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