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What I Do When I'm Not Painting

No one is just one thing—just a dentist or a parent or an artist—so I'll take a moment to reveal my other interests, some of the things that go into defining me in simple terms.

I am also a reader, a fair cook, a dog owner, a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend. I enjoy sewing on occasion, I dabble at the piano, and I like to travel. And for an interest second only to painting, I play the horn.

Me with Joan Kason and Steve Stroup after a production of "Peter and the Wolf"

I played in high school, using a school horn that I handed back when I graduated, and that was that, I believed. But in my late 30s, my husband gave me a new horn as a birthday gift, and I got to work relearning how to play it. I took lessons from the high school band director in my town (hi, Steve), and then lessons from a teacher at a nearby university (hi, Rob).

I practiced daily, and I persisted until I could play a tune in public without shaming myself or my family. I joined the community band, I joined the local orchestra, and I became completely smitten with the experience.

During more than 20 years spent exploring this hobby, I have played my part in symphonies and concertos. I have played swing tunes, rock tunes, and country tunes. I have handled a few solos, sat in with small ensembles, and played for lots of church services, several children's concerts and one wedding. Throughout the entire experience, I have learned what I am made of—this Devil's Bastard Child of an instrument can certainly test your mettle.

Why am I bringing this up now? On June 4, I'll be playing with my beloved orchestra, The Tuscarawas Philharmonic, for the last time, most likely. I left the group two years ago to move to another state, but the maestro who has been the conductor for a quarter of a century is retiring, and I will be sitting fourth chair for his last concert. I'll try not to shed tears sometime during the evening, but I make no promises.

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