|Photo Description: Royal Albert Hall packed full for the Last Night of the Proms|
We all got in just before it started, I said hello to a fellow wheelchair user that we often see at these events, and settled into our seats. I really enjoy this particular tradition. We don't see our friends often enough so the Proms is both a reason and an excuse to get together. We have lunch, then we gorge on the music and the atmosphere.
I am not the classical music enthusiast that some of the others are. I enjoy it, but am not rapsodized by it in the way, say, Joe is, so for me, the Proms is perfect as it's kind of like a classical variety show - there's something for every taste. This year, though, I was truly swept away by the music.
There are things that are going on in my life that are pulling my heart and my mind and my attention in such a way that I feel, often, distracted and disorganized. Grief. Anxiety. Excitement. Annoyance. Frustration. Hopefulness. Anticipation. Worry. Anger. Joyousness. Pride. Devastation. All of these emotions jockey for prominence and sometimes I fell tossed from one to another as if my emotions are playing catch with my soul. I manage to stay on top of things by a sheer act of will. On top of all that my disability is changing slightly and I'm having to focus a bit more on things that I thought had been resolved. All of these things individually are minor - but when combined together is overwhelming at times.
Then this 23 year old kid, Benjamin Grosvenor, walked on to the stage and played Shostakovich’s 2nd Piano Concerto, something I've never heard of before, and something that I would have joked about with Joe - couldn't composers who wrote pieces with thousands of note come up with an actual NAME for what they wrote? Anyways the piece was unutterably beautiful.
And for a moment.
I wasn't me anymore.
My life wasn't mine.
I was transported away from emotion and from to do lists and from worries and, mercifully, from hopes and dreams. It was as if the music came into my mind and pushed the furniture out of the way so that the pathway to my heart was clear again. It was wonderful to be able to be led to a place where I existed and didn't exist at the same time.
There were several other moments, in what I think was the best Proms we've seen, where I was fully engaged by the performances and by the atmosphere both there in Albert Hall and the theatre here in Toronto. The moments of escape from the 'daveness' of my life were so incredibly powerful.
As the camera panned the audience in other venues across the UK, I saw another fellow in a wheelchair, only one, who was with two women who were talking. He looked, like I think I looked when the Concerto played - as if ramps were being installed in his mind.
We hugged as we parted and went our separate ways. I felt ... ready.
And that's all I need.