It was an odd coincidence that when I became a single mother of three small children I had taken a modeling course in Minneapolis in order to improve my confidence as I faced tumult in my personal life. Quite by chance I ended up actually modeling. I found out quickly that it is very hard work and you have no guarantees about when you are paid. At about the same time I had begun studying the flute seriously with the Principal Flute of the Minnesota Orchestra. I traded in my closed-hole Hanes for one of his gorgeous Louis Lot flutes, so I was not about to leave it in my taxicab yellow VW when I went to fittings on the same day I had a flute lesson. So one afternoon, while the fashion director was sticking pins in me, trying to get an outfit ready for a live show I remember standing in the fitting room and looking down at my flute case. I had a troubling thought — if I am really serious about playing the flute, just how many photos of me would I want to have taken without it?
I did not realize it at the time, but a sea change had begun in my life. I have kept very few photos of those days. Here is one, taken at the Forum Cafeteria in Minneapolis. The Forum Cafe was and is (interior now a new restaurant called Il Foro…http://www.il-foro.com/about/) one of the most exciting examples of Art Deco interior in the Twin Cities. The view from this balcony for me (one who loves F. Scott Fitzgerald and have tracked almost all of his Minnesota living quarters down) was just breathtaking. The dress I am wearing was actually lime green with lime and white feathers. I earned it by doing three days of demos with a few other models (similarly attired but in different colors) for a convention of salad dressing manufacturers. Yes, this was the perfect outfit in which to serve up mayonnaise! 🙂
With dual tornadoes flattening a small town in Nebraska yesterday I found myself thinking of a performance I gave under rather challenging conditions some time ago. The program was, what else? — all Mozart. The venue was the beautiful Art Room of the Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church in Minneapolis. Everything went smoothly until around noon the day of the performance. Tornadoes moved in on the Twin Cities. Some of my guests who planned to attend the concert found themselves holed up in movie theater in a Mall in St. Paul as a tornado roared by. Another who lived near Lake of the Isles found a tree had fallen across their driveway. One tornado zeroed in on my accompanist’s apartment building. He became terrified and tried to bow out, claiming he had no way to get to the church. He did, fortunately, manage to arrive, at the last moment. And yes, everything ended up working beautifully, and all but a handful who had planned to attend made it and seemed to be delighted by the program. My three little children ran around the back of the room, playing quietly. As with just about everything connected to Mozart, that which seemed to be almost impossibly challenging evolved into an experience of absolute joy…
It always helps to have an entourage.
I had an opportunity to sneak into a Vladimir Horowitz rehearsal at Orchestra Hall. It was amazing experience that I heard more than saw, of course, as I was peeking up from behind a seat in the balcony, trying not to attract the attention of guards seated at the corners of the stage, glaring outward.
Later that afternoon Horowitz came out of the stage door and stood waiting for a limo to pick him up. He was a small man, dressed in unmatched stripes and plaids, who would probably have gone quite unnoticed just about anywhere, were it not for the guards and the limo…