Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Back Door of Your Dreams.

Have you ever thought about your dreams having a front or back door? Me neither, until this week. Entering the wrong door (back door) of a building triggered a memory of a similar experience last December. Suddenly, I was thinking that dreams have front and back doors, just like structures.

Ed and Tom, two music industry veterans from Nashville, had just flown in from Tennessee, to the Baltimore, Maryland airport. I was so excited to pick them up and welcome them back to Pennsylvania to be part of Portraits of White...my growing winter concert dream.

Ed Kee is the conductor of my concert and helps me plan the music as well as write some of the music; he does more than I think most conductors probably do. Tom Hemby is a talented guitar player we brought in a few years ago when my other guitar player couldn't do the concert at the last minute. Tom was such a great addition to the event that we are planning to bring him back again this year for the third year in a row.


Since I knew that they were both Civil War buffs, I planned our route from the airport to the hotel so that we could stop at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

In my mind, I pictured a short jaunt through the battlefield, but as soon as they saw the first big monument, they had their windows down and cameras ready before I could even say, "Do you want to get out?" I could tell the answer was yes without even asking. It was worth stopping just to see the battlefield through their eyes.


We did the weekend concert and as a last hurrah, I decided that we should conclude the weekend with dinner at a restaurant in Gettysburg. I treasure time with these two music industry veterans because I learn a lot just by listening to their conversations and experiences. Spending time with them is one of my favorite perks of doing the concert.

We arrived at the Farnsworth Inn, where we could enjoy some nourishment. However, I was unfamiliar with the restaurant and felt a little stupid when the door we opened to the restaurant was obviously a back entrance that took us right into the kitchen. That's not the part you're supposed to see, right? Usually you enter at the front, which is generally beautifully decorated and welcoming. The back entrance reveals the 'guts of the establishment'. (Maybe guts is a bad word to use when discussing restaurants but I think I'll go ahead and use it).

So that little memory got me thinking. Initially, following our dream is a lot like entering a restaurant through the front door.  The front entrance is very appealing and everything is "just right".  That's how it is when you begin dreaming. You are excited to "enter" into pursuing your dream.

But there is always a "back door" to dreaming too, as I'm finding out. It's where the work takes place. Everyone is hustling to create great moments for the guests who will come. We all know that there is work going on at a public restaurant, but we don't want to know that. We're there for an 'experience'. Ultimately, the only ones that should think about the work are those who pay the bills at the end of the month and "keep the electricity on". They probably enter through the back door when they arrive for work.


Yes, every dream has a front door and a back door. Both are needed. Every now and then, I need to walk through the front door of my dreams, just to remember that initial feeling of vision and energy. So do you.

For me, it can happen when I'm sitting back and listening to a piece of music that I've been dissecting note by note so I can learn it well for the concert. Sometimes I just need to sit and listen to it for its beauty.

One of those moments happened in Nashville the last time I was there planning the concert with the conductor. We were in the thick of planning and I had been feeling a little overwhelmed. (I'm getting used to that feeling and learning how to pace myself).  As we listened through one of the pieces of music that combines a sacred Christmas song with a classical piece in a most creative way, the tears began to trickle down my face. The goosebumps appeared on my arms and my worries were carried away by the emotion of the key changes and crescendos of the music.

I apologized to Ed for the tears and said, "Sometimes I get so caught up in the details of this show that I forget what I'm really doing, and then I hear this music and remember why I do this. It's because of the way music moves us. That's why I do this!" For one night, I want people to sit and be swept away by the music; cares and all.

I was a bit weepy all day as I experienced the music from the seat of the listener, not the planner/performer.

Most days, I have to go through the back door to get the work done, but I'm learning to find joy even in the back door of my dreams.

Additionally, somedays, I enter through the front door of my dreams and enjoy the lobby area and remember the first time I walked through that door. 


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