I spent this last Sunday out in Cobourg with some family, rooting for my step-mom as she rocked out violin-style with the Northumberland Orchestra & Choir -- of course I finally make it out to a show only for it to be their last of the season... go figure.
On the bright side, she was brilliant out there and I truly had a fantastic time -- there's just something amazing about being in a room with an orchestra, watching each section build their part of the piece as the conductor weaves it all together.
Classical music isn't something I've always had a connection to, it's something I've discovered over the years -- and even now I wouldn't consider myself a connoisseur... but still, it's a growing appreciation.
A special treat came at the end of the show with the appearance of world-class Canadian Violinist Adrian Anantawan.
Of course I say 'treat' in hindsight because I'd literally known nothing about him before he stepped into the room.
With that said, and now that I've heard him play: I have to know more.
You see, though Mr. Anatawan was born without a Right hand, he's pushed past what most would consider a 'disability' -- or what any other violinist might call an 'impossible situation' -- to become not only a master of his craft but an inspiration for a whole whack of kids (myself included).
At 26 years old, his resume already inspires awe:
National Spokesman for The War Amps of Canada? Check
Played at Carnegie Hall? Check
Played at the White House? Check
Played for Pope John Paul II? Check
Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, he recently did a little gig performing in the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympics.
Not too shabby...
There's a lot I've yet to learn about appreciating fine music, but I'll be darned if Mr. Anantawan doesn't make it just a tad bit easier.
I had the pleasure of meeting him after the show, sneaking in for a bit after the crowd had dispersed, getting a moment or two to chat about what I had experienced.
To say that he's a down-to-Earth guy is an understatement -- I stood there and watched him engage with every single person who took the time to meet him. He'd chat and listen and sign autographs with dozens and dozens of people with nothing but a genuine smile on his face.
When I approached him we talked for a bit and I asked him about how much time he practices every day (4-ish hours - with maybe 2-2 1/2 actually being 'productive') and what he'd have loved to have done if he hadn't gotten into the Violin (become a Pianist) -- we wandered into an interesting chat about dedication and how hard it is to keep at it no matter who you are or where you're at in your career.
And, yes, we even talked about TV.
(Apparently he's a fan of Lost.)
So, please, take a moment, listen to him play. Hopefully you'll find his work as intriguing and exhilarating as I do.