A long time ago in a state far, far away, I worked in the School of Music at the university I attended. It was a student job, answering phones and stuffing envelopes and pouring coffee. That’s how I met my ex-husband, actually. Pouring him awful 4:30 p.m. black coffee, which we sold for a quarter a cup. He loved that coffee. The hardcore coffee drinkers all came for the end of the day coffee, which was pure sludge.
I was also a music student, albeit a minor one (heh heh heh), and enjoyed working with musicians. They were talented and, in their own ways, graceful, if not always interpersonal, being solitary as musicians often are. It wasn’t the only student job I had, but it factored large in my life. I spent most of my time at that music school, and it was there that I discovered most of the people that I have retained from my college days. I don’t think I have a single friend from the people I met in the English department. I just didn’t spend time there.
Both of my children were born while I was a student in that school of music. Gosh, come to think of it, that place really was a big part of my life for a long time.
By pure chance, blissful happenstance, by tripping into the right place at precisely the right time, I am about to start working in another school of music here in Portland. It was never my intention to pursue music employment out here, but — as these things happen — it all kind of fell together. I needed a place to play piano in the absence of my beloved baby grand, and found the Community Music Center, which bears vivid resemblance to my collegiate school of music; whereas the SOM was in a castle,
the CMC is in a former fire station, both brick, both converted into classrooms and practice rooms, both with towers (CMC has a bell tower), both rich in history and a tiny bit run down.
The lobby of the CMC is full of flyers and sign-up sheets, which is where I learned of the opportunity to volunteer at the CMC, which I did exactly once, at which time the director of the CMC asked the lobby at large if anyone was looking for a job, to which I answered “yes!” A few months later, I was hired.
It will be part time. It won’t be a lot of money per hour. It won’t be glamorous or upwardly mobile or ambitious in any way. But it’s a job. It regulates my time, and it gives me a chance to meet people, which it turns out that I like.
And it’s in a music school, a place I’m ultimately comfortable in, a place filled with musicians and tiny musicians and hopeful musicians and wishful thinkers and dreamers and people who like to try new things. And, starting tomorrow, me.
I am happy about this particular weird full circle.