Newark, NJ


Dear Readers,


It’s getting late, and I’m sore. I’ve been watching men’s gymnastics on TV, but this ache isn’t sympathetic – I’ve had a kink along the left side of my neck since I woke up this morning. As a violinist, that’s a problem: the violin rests on the left shoulder. Fortunately, playing my violin today wasn’t too uncomfortable. Instead, the stiffness made itself known in other ways: it was tricky to lift my head high enough to see the top balcony; I couldn’t scan the hall as I walked on and offstage; and I had to keep my back extra straight when we took our bows. Aargh! And that’s all thanks to a too-thick hotel pillow! It was rather amusing, actually. Live and learn.

I would’ve appreciated the flexibility to look around the hall a bit more. Even my camera was loathe to take in the view, running out of battery power after my first shot. (It’s only fair: I forgot to recharge the battery. But no matter.) The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is a sizable venue – several stories tall and appropriately wide, with a slanted proscenium over the front of the stage to direct sound to the audience. Positioned in a semicircle behind the piano (facing the audience), elegant wooden sound baffles kept our performance from getting lost behind the curtains. The acoustics were fantastic. Hip, hip, hooray, yet again!

This has been a solid visit: we’ve been here for more than forty-eight hours, including Valentine’s Day. I didn’t really do anything to celebrate that semi-holiday, though I did vegetate in front of the TV for a couple of hours (it was the only way to drown out the neighbors), watching sappy dramas while I gobbled lots and lots of sugar. Ah, the luxury. But forty-eight hours is a long time on a recital tour, and our departure is imminent. Tomorrow, at 6:30am, we’ll step in a car to begin our trip to Minnesota. Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a road trip – the car takes us only as far as the airport. We’ll fly the rest of the way. But first, I need to get some sleep.

Yours from Newark,

Hilary