Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Orchestration

* * * * * * ACT I * * * * * *
   Lunchtime today was the most rewarding hour of my week. (Which is saying a lot, because this week has been AWESOME—I've spent it writing, drawing, and art directing!) Spent the lunch hour with 50 coworkers swiftly packing over 3500 lunches in backpacks (aka "Backsnacks") for the Harvesters organization, to feed hungry kids (and often their families, I'm told) in the KC metro.
  I kinda forgot it was today, and showed up in a brand-new swanky dress, because I was going to a chamber music concert at the Kauffman tonight. Slightly overdressed for my job of breaking down cardboard boxes as the canned foods were emptied from them. Several people complimented me on how nice it was of me to dress up for the occasion. LOL
   I got to share the work with Lisa R & Nikki, & we had a fun time chatting, catching boxes as they were thrown at us, and pulling them apart. The work is primarily rewarding in that you're helping needy families; but also because it gives you a huge sense of accomplishment. We get a LOT done in one hour through teamwork... everyone is assigned a job as they walk through the door, the stations are carefully orchestrated, and as long as everyone pitches in, the work is easy. And to Amy's point, the job is simple & straightforward: no one is coming along behind us and unpacking (whereas our "day jobs" comprise many complex decisions that are necessarily revisited). Here there's nothing to question: you just go go go!
* * * * * * ACT II * * * * * *
   After work, I met a big group of friends at the Kauffman for a chamber music concert, featuring the work of Schoenberg (Verklaerte Nacht/Transfigured Night) and Prokofiev's Quintet (originally written for ballet, with circus performers as inspiration).  As usual, it was fantastic and thought-provoking—the Prokofiev was lively and fun, and Schoenberg took us through a crescendo of mood, based the 5 distinct sections of a German poem: setting the scene: a couple walking together, she speaks: terrible news, the setting transforms and becomes very dark, he speaks: understanding and acceptance, then the setting transforms again: joyful and bright.
   As I sat and listened and watched the performers intently (which is why I love the symphony live, but on the radio—not so much), I caught the strings players glancing at each other frequently as they embarked on a piece, ensuring that they were ready and in synch. Each had different mannerisms for "checking in". None began before they knew the others were ready. Their work is rigidly structured: they know exactly which notes to play when, and how (I LOVE seeing how they move their fingers and arms to achieve different sounds through angle, intensity, etc.—especially when the women wear sleeveless dresses so you can really see the subtlety of their muscles at work). Jazz may be ad-libbed, but the symphony follows the script. In a way, not unlike the work we did today: fun and fulfilling, but following a plan—and depending on the unity of the team to be successful.
* * * * * * ACT III * * * * * *
   Christy, Sawako, Karen, Colby, and I met at Cafe Gratitude for good food and some surprisingly philosophical talk, sprinkled among our usual talk of adventuring. Perfect way to wrap up a great day!