If I were to look closely at my nose, it would disappear. First, rather than nose, it would be a close-up of cells, skin cells and cartilage and the parts that lie beneath. Then the atoms, particles making up the atoms, then smaller, then finally a field about which we know nothing. I look at my nose, and I see I am insubstantial. I read that if you took all of the matter of all of the humans on the planet and put it in one place, it would be the size of a sugar cube. A very heavy sugar cube, but not much there nonetheless. Somehow, I find this comforting.
Last weekend was the last show of the year for Zepparella. It was in Oregon, and the schedule was: Saturday, leave at 9AM; drive nine hours; load in; play the show; celebrate our year back at the hotel; leave at 10AM on Sunday morning; back in San Francisco around 7:00.
The van is very comfortable, but, no matter who you are, to be cooped up for so long can be rough. These are long drives, barreling down highways with infrequent stops. We time our hydration so we’re on the same page with rest stops. Everyone has their little area, where they nestle in and work on the computer, read if it’s a flat road, and sleep. Sometimes, Gretchen and Angeline will play their instruments, practicing or learning for an upcoming show. Noelle writes constantly.
I was listening to my favorite podcast, On Being, and the interview was of Alice Parker, “a composer, conductor, and teacher who’s been shaping the universe of chorale music for most of her 90 years.”
What we miss when we don’t have song is the means of creating a community, of creating a whole out of a group of people. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a group of people in an old folk’s home that can’t really sing anymore, or if it’s a kindergarten classroom, or a nursery school classroom, or a bunch of seventh-grade boys who can be fairly hard to get to function as a unit.
Seattle, Washington. Here we always do two shows in one night. We play around 7:45 for 90 minutes, and then we play at 11:45 for another 90. This time, Angeline and I also played three Hendrix songs with the opener, the amazing Daniele Gottardo, in front of the second set.
That’s a lot of drumming in one night. I love it and also sort of dread the physical exertion. Usually, I just keep thinking of the amazing audience and want to give them my all. I take on the challenge. The challenge isn’t the drumming, as I feel as though I could play drums into infinity, much the way I feel about driving or swimming. Stamina is my strong suit. The real challenge is in being focused and connected for that long. I want to give it all on stage through two sets, to give the audience in the first show the best of me, while saving enough to give the audience in the second show the best of me too.