And so, the week ends.

It has been an absolutely exhilarating experience. Today's final concert was a huge success-- first the faculty played the last movement of the Mendelssohn Octet, with me on 4th violin!! That was a surprise yesterday, when I found out they needed me on violin, but it worked out. In fact, it was easier to go back to violin now that I haven't played in such a long time-- besides the vibrato being too wide and a few random "clef attacks" here and there, I felt pretty good about my intonation and sound production-- though I was playing a VERY nice violin with a VERY nice bow, which I think helped keep some of my "viola arm" at bay (thank you Fredi, for lending me your violin!).

Then the advanced orchestra performed a few pieces that were really excellent. There wasn't a printed program, so unfortunately I can't share the pieces with you, but they were wonderful. Then the intermediate students joined the advanced students, for more pieces. A lot of them were transcriptions of Brazilian tunes, so everything had a great beat and made me want to dance. Finally, the super young kids joined the other players, so by the end there were maybe 300 string players of all ages on the stage, all playing together! The final piece ended with everyone improvising and jamming at the end, and standing up and dancing around as the concert grew to an exciting and exhilarating climax. The energy was just amazing. I've never been in a room filled with people so happy to be sharing music. I can't think of a more appropriate word than exhilarating. It was special. It was a day that I will never forget.

And that's how I feel about this week too. It has been spectacular and amazing. I have met so many wonderful people (way too many to list!) but I want to especially thank Daphne Gerling for taking a chance on a violist and bringing me here. Daphne-- thank you. Again and again and again-- thank you.

Happy traveling.