2005 - A year to remember

>> Saturday, December 31, 2005

The year 2005 began with great promise and has ended in the same manner in which it began. In December of 2004, Steph's mother died and only a week later, Larry Weinstein and Thomas Wallner flew to Oklahoma from Canada to interview us concerning the film they were going to make for the 2006 Mozart 250th birthday year. By the end of the year we were gearing up for a trip to Vienna sometime in 2005.

The first few months of 2005 were fraught with anxiety and anticipation, waiting to get word from Larry about when we would be making the trip. And somewhere in the midst of it all, it looked like I wouldn't get to go because of a number of different reasons and complications. But in the end it all worked out, and by mid July we had dates for the shoots, as well as plane tickets to Vienna.

2005 has been a musical year for me. I've had the opportunity to solo in two separate performances of Handel's Messiah with the Stillwater Chamber Singers, one in the spring, in which I sang the alto aria, "He was despised" and the second performance, only a couple of weeks ago, in which I sang one of my favorite arias, "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion". Another exciting musical experience came when I was asked to sing Mozart's lied, "Abendempfindung" for the film. I was filmed singing it in the majestic theater of the Masonic Temple in Guthrie, Oklahoma in mid August. Temperatures were in the 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and with no air conditioning in the theater plus my wearing a heavy black satin gown, the shoot was sweltering and exhausting. My scene didn't make the film, however, because of time constraints, but will be in the "deleted scenes" feature of the DVD version.

On Monday, August 29th, 2005, Steph and I were en route to Vienna, Austria for the on location shoots of the film now entitled, Mozartballs. On the morning of our departure, hurricane Katrina was making land along the Gulf Coast regions of Louisiana and Mississippi. The pilot of our KLM flight from Detroit to Amsterdam got on the speakers and told us that the clouds just to the south of us were the edges of Katrina. We had no idea of the damages sustained by the city of New Orleans until the following Friday, when we arrived in Salzburg and turned our hotel room television on to CNN International.

The last three days of August and the first few days of September, 2005 were spent in Vienna and Salzburg Austria, filming. Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable times of my entire life! More than the tremendous experience of being in a film, Steph and I realized a long-held dream of traveling to these places together. For us it was a vision quest--a spiritual experience wrought with laughter, tears, and memories both joyous and and painful. It was a grueling time of bustling airports, lots of walking, sore, bruised toes and feet, blisters, mosquitoes, sweltering heat, sweat, jet lag, and fatigue. It was filled with jets, taxi cabs, chauffeured limos, and trains. There were strange sights, strange sounds, a strange language, strange customs, strange currency, and strange food. It was an incredible time spent with incredibly talented people--Larry, Thomas, Jessica, John, Sanjay, Scott, Gerhardt, Nicholas, and Mozie. By the end of the trip we felt as if they were our family. All of us wept when it was time for us to separate and return to our homes--theirs being Toronto and ours being Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Steph described the return home and subsequent "down time" as feeling as if we'd been dropped from a plane. We both went through a period of depression when it was all over.
When we returned home we were met with life as usual. There were three active teens and all the activities and hustle-bustle that come with teenagers. There was work, bills, laundry, fish tanks that needed cleaning, and rent to pay. I felt like that woman in the Carnival Cruise commercial when she described how she had been treated like a queen but was now lamenting the return to the daily grind. She said she considered it a "temporary exile". Steph and I also declared ours a temporary exile, by deciding that we will move to Vienna when all of the kids have graduated from high school, in 2010.

Now we wait in anticipation of 2006. The film is finished and copies are being sent to the various European broadcasters as I type this. It is due to air on most European stations between the 22nd and 29th of January. Steph and I have no idea what will come of it, but we anticipate that much will come of it. Our hopes are that a publisher will pick up on Steph's book, Night Music, and that there might even be a screenplay in the works. That would be tremendous. There may very well be numerous speaking engagements, as well as book signing tours. Who knows? We just sense that our lives are about to change and that the lull we now experience will be very short-lived.

In closing, I wish to thank all of my readers for wading through all of this, and for your readership and comments. It has been a joy to create a window into my life via this medium, and I hope that you will continue to return to my blog throughout the coming year. Happy 2006 to you all!

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