As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have spent the past week in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on a business trip to facilitate focus groups on behalf their orchestra.
The Winston-Salem Symphony has a brand new music director, Tim Redmond, and while in town I had the honor of sitting in on the very first rehearsal with Tim at the podium (at least in his new, official capacity).
And of course the week has not been all work. Besides visiting SECCA, Dan (visiting North Carolina with me) and I have been chasing Art-o-mats all over the city — I believe we found 6 new-to-us art-dispensing machines.
However, the most special experience of all for me was an evening of pure serendipity.
A bit of backstory: my friend Jelisa lives in Winston-Salem. We had been trying to make plans to meet up with one another (for the first time in 11 years), but a recent tropical storm caused her basement to flood and we had to cancel. Not only was I bummed to miss Jelisa, but it also would have been a chance to meet her beau Jeffrey.
She asked if maybe I could make time for dinner on Thursday, but I had plans to visit the orchestra’s rehearsal. I asked if she had time after rehearsal, but she had made plans for an event at a bar called the Ramkat.
Then, at the orchestra rehearsal, my colleague Mary Beth said that she had to slip out early, and invited me to come — she had been invited to an event at the Ramkat.
I required some convincing — I had a night of pajamas and catch-up work in mind. Thank god I dragged myself over my social anxiety and went, as it ended up being a simply incredible evening. Not only did I get to surprise my friend Jelisa…
…But I got to meet her beau Jeffrey in his element, as he was performing.
(To throw one final log on the fire: Mary Beth introduced me to Clark, the creator of the Art-o-mat. Swoon.)
The show itself was fantastic, and so special: a surprise wedding anniversary party for the Ramkat’s owners. The band was a rotating group of Winston-Salem’s best musicians, all of whom came together to perform music off of a Wilco album that the Ramkat owner-couple listened to when they were first falling in love. It was immensely touching to be a fly on the wall for this personal occasion, to watch the couple dance and laugh and to witness all of the toasting and celebrating.
Thank heavens for friends who will draw you out of your comfort zone, right?