As we woke up Monday morning, we prepared ourselves for our last full day in Ireland. We went down to breakfast and talked with friends; we boarded the bus and talked some more. We were ready for our final adventures.
Upon visiting the Glendalough Monastic Ruins, we were greeted by a countless number of sheep. As far as the eye could see, sheep. As far as the ear could hear, sheep.
We were then let loose in the ruins, exploring the stone foundations and graves. As I walked around the main circular watchtower that was used to defend the monastery hundreds of years ago, my hand touched the hearts of all of those who died protecting something they were so passionate about.
We had our last lunch and we went into our last tacky tourist shop. Our last views of Dublin will be forever burned into our minds with the fire of love for the city.
We arrived at the National Concert Hall and were at a loss for words. Our dress rehearsal only enhanced our excitement to play in such a wonderful hall with an equally wonderful audience. Almost every seat in the auditorium was filled; even a group of people from Norway we had met the night before at the Arlington Hotel decided to watch the group of musicians that dominated the Celtic show.
Tears fell long before the downbeat.
I have been in MYSO for seven years. That is seven years’ worth of friends, and I had to say goodbye to many of them tonight.
We still have another 24 hours together, but I said goodbye to the glances we shared during the pieces. I said goodbye to the beautiful clarinet solo in the Copland. I said goodbye to my stand partner who always had my back, musically and personally. I said goodbye to making music with the people I have grown to call my family.
But most importantly, I said goodbye to a fly that made his rounds onstage, saying hello to the musicians. He particularly loved the smell of my hair; he was my biggest fan. We named him Shostakovich, due to his late work, the Gadfly Suite.
The reception brought a flood of emotions; happy, sad, and everything in between.
Ms. Deutsch’s famous tour song, sung to the tunes of Danny Boy and Irish Washerwoman, brought so many memories back from only a few days ago. She sang of our concert halls, our feasts, and our glory.
I look forward to writing to you again when we cross the pond.