Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Conductor's Wife

In my day to day job, people usually mistake me for someone important, mainly because I have a gold name badge and I’m from outside the building. This is my third school year working outside of the classroom at the ESD as a literacy specialist. If you don’t have ESDs in your state, think of them as regional district offices. Washington has teeny tiny school districts that need support. The state office is also teeny tiny, so the ESDs fill in gaps like providing instructional coaching, reading specialists (me), school psychologists, IT, bookkeeping, etc. All things that school districts do themselves in states like Florida (where I used to teach).

Despite not actually being “in charge” of anyone, teachers are always eager to tell me exciting things they’re doing in class and administrators are quick to show me how they’ve satisfied some legislative requirement. People are usually happy to see me at their building and that’s a wonderful feeling. In my home life, I’m usually the gregarious one, too. I like meeting new people and talking and I can withstand people’s attention (ok, I’m a ham).

That’s all back story, though, because seven evenings per year, I’m not the important person in the room. I’m the conductor’s wife. One of those evenings was last night as my husband conducted his college orchestra in their winter concert. They played Beethoven 7. This is evidently a big hairy deal.

I have almost no background in classical music, so it always sounds lovely to me. The orchestra would have to stop playing entirely for me to realize something has gone awry. But seeing a seasoned audience stand up at the end is so exciting it makes me wonder how similar the brain scans would be between a person receiving accolades and a person watching someone they love receive accolades. It feels indistinguishable.

I have been warned not to be the first one to stand (or to bully audience members near me into standing), but seeing someone you love excel is such a treat. While I don’t know that I’d want to give up the spotlight full time, seven times per year it’s a pretty good gig.


  1. I believe that you've been warned not to be the first to stand, but still, ... I would. I can imagine the gorgeous sound. The swell and thrum of it. Congrats to that conductor ; ) I'm excited you've joined the Slice of Life challenge!

    1. Well, I actually stood in the back the entire concert this time because I had Beatrice with me. :)

  2. I enjoyed your post today. I was engaged from the beginning...not knowing how it was going to end. So glad I stopped by your blog to read it. Your descriptions of yourself and your feelings about the concert made me smile.

    Thank you!

  3. I am married to a stick waver as well and can identify with the pride you feel when the music is appreciated.

  4. True...sometimes when we step back and let others' lights shine, it is powerful! Love what you captured here!