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GUEST BLOG: A day in the life of a Rusty Musician

Posted On Sep 26, 2018, 09:26 AM by Courtney Mattern

Participant in the Rusty Musician Experience

I opened the case to my old flute. It still has my address on a piece of tape stuck to the inside, the address where I lived 32 years ago when I first got my flute in high school.  

“Rusty Musician, indeed,” I thought to myself as I looked at the wear and tear on that poor old flute.  But once it’s assembled and I start to practice, it all comes rushing back to me.

I was a semi-professional player years ago, before I started my pharmacy career. I can remember the day I made the choice to go to pharmacy school instead of pursuing music. It was a tough decision, but I remember telling myself “I will always have music no matter what.” 

That was 30 years ago! A lot has happened in those three decades. After surviving a serious surgery, I spent my time in the hospital reflecting on my life. I made a list of what I’m grateful for. I made another list of things I wish I could do. On that list was performing at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The Holland Center hadn’t been built yet when I was in my prime flutist days. It is an acoustic wonder!  It is beautiful, elegant and every performer’s dream venue.  Every time I am here to see a performance, I think about what it would be like to be on that stage...

Fast forward to today. I have the extreme honor of participating in Omaha Performing Arts’ second annual Rusty Musician Experience. Am I seriously going to get to play with members of the Omaha Symphony on stage at the Holland Center? If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up.
On my drive downtown, I just started smiling. I wasn’t thinking about the notes I could no longer hit, or the airy tone on certain notes that used to be crystal clear. All I could think about was how grateful I am to be able to do one of those things on my list.

Suzanne, right, with the Omaha Symphony Assistant Conductor Ian Passmore on the Kiewit Hall stage at the Holland Center.

I found my place on stage and was immediately greeted by Maria, the principal flutist of the Omaha Symphony. She introduced herself and thanked us for being there. I felt like I was amongst friends and colleagues – not like an outsider at all.

I had goosebumps, chills and tears in my eyes while we played. It was everything I imagined and more. Looking out into the audience and seeing the smiles on the faces of my family members is a moment I will never forget. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to Omaha Performing Arts and the members of the Omaha Symphony for this incredible experience. Thank you for reminding me how important music is to me and how wonderful our community is! 

I think Louis Armstrong said it best when he said, “musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them.” I may be a bit rusty, but there’s plenty of music left in me.
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