When a Writer Isn’t Writing

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Seeing young people experience live symphonic music – some for the very first time ever – is an event worth leaving my desk for. One morning a few weeks ago, I watched a line of school buses pull up at the entrance to Richmond Civic Hall and drop off hundreds of seventh graders. After they moved into the auditorium, I had the privilege of stepping onto the stage and welcoming these students to a free concert presented just for them – each and every year – by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. We call it “Rhythm of the Symphony” because it features the tapping, booming, ringing, clanging energy of the percussion section.

In my brief few moments on stage, I imagined what it might be like to actually play an instrument instead of just listen to one. I imagined what it might feel like to take a seat in one of the chairs behind me and tuck a violin under my chin or raise a mallet over a kettle drum. Instead, I said a few words and made my way off to the side where I got a backstage view of drums moving on and off the stage and young men in black placing just the right number of chairs in just the right places at just the right time. I watched the stage manager silently directing traffic and relaying instructions to the sound booth. And I got to see conductor Guy Victor Bordo’s face, instead of his back, as he raised his baton and made the music happen. Award-winning photographer Diana Pappin captured the sight of it all.

The sound of it though – the chattering voices, the silence when the conductor stepped to the podium, the applause, and most especially the music – was heard only in that brief hour’s worth of time and will never again happen in that exact way or be heard by those exact ears. That’s the joy and the heartbreak of live music.

I was a richer human being when I returned to my desk and got back to the business of tapping out black words onto a white computer screen.

Connie Nordhielme Wooldridge

About Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

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Speaker / Presenter

Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
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