This Saturday February 14, I did it! I mustered the will to get, as I planned and my dear friend recommended, spiffed up and go out somewhere. All day Saturday I was talking myself out of it. I conjured up a myriad of excuses and reasons not to go. Finally, I put my foot down and fought the negative isolation trend that I am trying to break. So I found myself at this recital at the Cultural Arts Council beautiful Douglasville.http://home.earthlink.net/~cultureom/index.htm The recitals are part of the Kinna Chambers Concert Series, presented every year during January through April. Tonight's performer was Ms. Cassandria Hanna. Ms. Hanna has performed as a soloist with the Miami Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Miami Symphonette Society Orchestra. She has also given recitals throughout South Florida, at Kennedy Center, Munich, Germany and Nassau, Bahamas. Professor Hanna chaired the Keyboard Division of the Performing Arts Department at Maimi-Dade College. Her biography is more extensive on the the program we received. These are just a few excerpts of her accomplishments and credentials. When I read last month that Series had her as the pianist in February, I could not believe it. It just so happened that I had attended Miami-Dade College in 1975. Needless to say when I got there early at about 6:15 P.M., she was at the piano warming up. These recitals are done in the living room area of a Southern mansion that was built almost 110 years ago. It is in the historical registry. So the atmosphere is very intimate. I walked in and sat in the foyer area and listened to the warm up. Sure enough she was doing the standard Hanon exercises and scales. The wonderful part was that when she finished as she was crossing the foyer area from the living room to go upstairs, she saw me and said, " Don't I know you from somewhere". I replied, "Ms. Hanna it's Carlos Gonzalez from Miami-Dade College". Well she was amazed and reached out and hugged me. She told me that she remembered my face. At this point I broke down and flood gates opened. I always cry at the drop of a hat. Even though that recently they determined that MS can cause IEED, (Irrational Extreme Emotional Disorder). I am just a very sensitive and romantic individual that has that sentimental streak. Anyway, she was very happy, as she said, to see a familiar face. She recently retired to Georgia in 2007. She asked me what I had been doing and I told her about my story( a short version or else I would have had her there all night) and my MS. She told me that she had not noticed my crutch with all the laughing and hugging we were having. We said goodbye for now because she had to get ready for the performance. I went to take a seat at the area right in front of the piano. As I was sitting down, a man and with his date asked me, " Are these seats taken " and as I said no, he said " Don't I know you " at which time I recognized him but I couldn't remember his name. I said "I am Carlos aren't you from MDCC ", he said "Yeah Carlos it's Brian remember from the Piano School". Here goes a second person that relocated from Miami to beautiful Douglasville. Turns out he is teaching in two different schools in the area. He also has a group and plays and produces recordings. At 7:00 P.M. Ms. Hanna began a beautiful repertoire ranging from Chopin . Beethoven, Liszt to Debussy. The performance was beautiful and inspiring. At the end of the night a toast was held in her honor with cider, champagne and assorted chocolates. I stayed and mingled a while. At the end I said goodnight to Ms. Hanna and Brian. I did obtain their e-mail addresses and business cards. Ms. Hanna told me as I left, that we must definitely get together. She lives close to where I use to live in Paulding County. After I got home I felt the change in my attitude towards myself and my surroundings. I did have and still do a sense of inspiration and a willingness to carry on. Absolutely a motivating night. Of course those self-pity dark thoughts wanted to creep in like, " You wasted your time and didn't finish the formal college degree of Music" or " Look now you've got MS you can never amount to anything" and so on. Guess what, I fought those negative thoughts away and concentrated on what is true and real . The present moment of having enjoyed a wonderful time. I also reconnected with not one but two new old friends, who just happen to be musicians like me.
I am looking forward to next month when God willing I will attend the March 11 performance of Pianist George Mann.
I did it!!! Amen to that.