Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bassoons, bikes, and hot air balloons

I know when summer officially begins for me - the temperature rises into the nineties, the humidity is high, and the VSO is sweating out its first rehearsal in the hockey arena at Middlebury College. After a long drive up, a focused rehearsal, and lots of catching up on news with old friends, it's time to head to Hilary's for a good night's sleep. As I pull into her driveway in Leicester, I see a note taped to her front door - a greeting from her husband Jeff, welcoming me back and pointing me in the direction of snacks and drinks. Bob, Monty, and Margie (their cats) appear to get their strokes and hopefully line up a spot on my bed for the night!
On Thursday we were back at the rink for a three-hour rehearsal. Everyone seems to be locking into the challenges of the summer's program and working with a new conductor. Between rehearsal and concert many of us walk to the center of town to windowshop and chat. Dinner is at the college grille and is always good.
Concert night is coolish and dry, the humidity has left us and the bugs don't seem to be out. What a relief! As we play our final three pieces, the sunset unfolds in front of us - ever-changing colors highlight the edges of the clouds. Better than fireworks.
Thursday morning is cool and crisp - perfect for my annual bikeride around Lake Dunmore. There is lots to see: campers at Keewaydin practicing archery, tennis instruction at the courts, lots of Icelandic poppies, lambs' ears and wild hollyhocks. Also the smells - sweet mown hay and fresh manure! Two dirt roads and many hills later, I arrive back at Hilary's. A good workout to begin the day.
I pick up Jeremy and Elizabeth in Middlebury for our ride to Quechee. We stop in Rochester for lunch and eat on the porch of a little cafe in the center of town. I started talking to the folks at the next table. Turns out, they'll be attending the Randolph concert. They promised to come up and say hi.
We arrived in Quechee and checked into our motel and kicked back for a while. Then we suited up and headed to the Polo Field. Instead of a beautiful sunset tonight, we were treated to two hot air balloons floating by. We all enjoyed Andrew's "state of euphoria" remark at raffle time. Seems like we're enjoying ourselves; the orchestra sounds relaxed and happy.

Becky Eldredge, bassoon