My New Baby

What is this? Some wonderful picture I found on the internet, with which to tease and torture myself? (No.) New desktop wallpaper for my computer? (Possibly.) Or could this be a photo I took with my VERY OWN CAMERA, of my brand spankin' new KEYBOARD?!

Ting! Ting! Ting! You have found the correct answer!

My mother and her husband arrived here late Sunday afternoon to visit for a few days. And they came bearing gifts. The most exciting (at least to me) was this new Yamaha Portable Grand.

I didn't realize until we got it set up to play, and I sat down to bring forth sweet music, how very much I had missed having a piano. It's like a piece of me was missing, and now I am whole again.

Let me give you a little background, for those of you who don't know the situation:

I grew up playing piano, and loved it so much that when I went to college in 1998 I decided to take Jazz Piano. I didn't actually know anything about Jazz, but they had labelled it "Jazz/Pop" piano in the catalogue, and the other option was Classical. I knew I didn't want to take only classical music, so I picked Jazz.

Am I ever glad I did. I have a total appreciation of jazz music, now. Not only that, jazz musicians have to learn classical techniques, then take it a step further to be able to improvise, etc.

From the time I was a little girl, I had always played a hundred-year-old Bell upright piano, bequeathed to me by my grandparents. Beautiful piano. Beautiful tone. Weighed about ten thousand pounds.

When I moved out to go to college, I had to pay a piano mover to get it out of my dad's basement and into the townhouse I was renting with my new roomies in the city. Cost: <$200. Then, when we all moved to a duplex for my second year, I had to pay to move it again--fortunately, it was only from the main floor (no steps) of the townhouse to the main floor (up three steps) of the split-level duplex, but it still cost almost $200. Then, when I got married after college (incidentally, the day of Jason's and my college grad--woulda been nice if they had announced that BEFORE we picked our date!), we lived in my dad's basement for a year while Jason went back to college for another program. So, I had to pay to move the piano back into my dad's basement. Another 250 bucks, I think! During all these moves, this beautiful antique of a piano had sustained a number of injuries and damages.

Not only that, Jason, and my father, said they would never move it again. So, as our year of free rent drew to a close, I sold it to my uncle--and made HIM move it. (Sorry, Uncle Arvin. All of my resources had been tapped.)

So, there I was, piano-less. It was hard. Really hard. However, probably not such a bad thing, as I don't know how we would have got it into the little 900-square-feet-over-three-levels condo that we lived in in Calgary. As it turns out, we were only there for six months before Jason got a job back in Sylvan at Sunnyside Camp, so bonus that we didn't have to move that beast in and out of there in such a short amount of time.

However, still piano-deprived was I. Then, thanks to assistance from both my mother and my grandmother, and a super-duper deal offered me by my friend and musical partner Candace's aunt, I got another ancient upright. This one was only about 50 years old, and though not as big as the previous one, it had to have been just as heavy. We moved it into the basement of our house at the camp. (My poor brother--he hardly ever gets up to visit, and I think that may have been his first trip up since moving to the States, and what do I do? Make him help move this piano. You're a good man, brother mine!)

Due to the weight of the new beast, and the awkward moving arrangement our split-level afforded, Jason again decided he was not going to be the one to move that piano out of the basement. However, it sat there quite happily for over two years.

During our whole time at the camp, we were always thinking that we would be "moving to India soon." During 2004, things seemed to be coming together enough that we thought we would be moving sometime that winter. Not wanting to make the students I had taken on switch teachers in the middle of the year, I decided not to teach that winter, and to sell my piano to the studio I had been teaching at. Again, they came and moved it as part of the deal.

Well, we ended up not moving to India, obviously. And I have been without a piano of my own since that time. Fortunately, I still directed the choir at church in the winter of 2004-05, so at least I got a few minutes before and after practices to get a little "fix" in. But other than that, my musical outlet has subsisted of the guitar that I am still struggling to learn, like an adult trying to wrap the same meanings in the new sounds and syllables of a foreign language. Needless to say, this has severely curbed my creative output, as far as composing has been concerned.

So, as I ran my no-longer-limber fingers through their paces last night, "sight-reading" a song that at one time I knew quite well, my emotions were a mass of excitement and release. It's difficult to describe. I had been missing my arm, and now that it's back, I truly appreciate its worth.

I just wanted to play for hours, although other responsibilites would not allow it. However, it's so good to have my "other voice" again. And this time, I won't ever have to sell my piano because my husband refuses to move it.

This baby is home to stay.