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KarenNWendyn

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I’m sure many of you are familiar with the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The full symphony is nearly an hour long and is arguably the greatest symphonic work ever written.

I have been playing principal bassoon in a semi-professional orchestra for a number of years. Our orchestra celebrated its 50th anniversary this season, and we just finished the season this weekend with three spectacular performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

I am fortunate in that my ALS has been leg-onset with slow progression. This has allowed me to keep playing my instrument a little longer than I might have otherwise.

Unfortunately, my hand function and mouth muscles are becoming affected, so my bassoon playing will sadly be coming to an end sooner than I’d like.

My goal was to get through as much of this symphony season as I could. After my diagnosis last summer, I discussed the situation with the conductor and executive director, both of whom were very supportive and encouraging. We agreed to hire an assistant for me, and having him play some of my parts has allowed me to conserve energy.

I did not expect to make it playing through the entire season, but I just did! Beethoven’s Ode to Joy was my Ode to Joy. Getting lots of rest, not taxing my hands prior to the performances, using lighter reeds, and using the assistant was the key. I’m happy to say the performances were a resounding success, and I had a blast. Just wanted to share.
 

affected

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Tears of joy for you - nothing could have been more fitting! xxx
 

Jlynn

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That's fantastic! I'm so happy for you that you met your "hope" of making it through the season.
 

chally

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YAHOO!
You go girlfriend!
Congratulations!
 

Firefighter58

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Karen, keep it up as long as you can, you are doing great.
Al
 

KateEmerson

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Karen, I am so happy for you! I have some understanding what that accomplishment must mean to you, music was my PALS soul ( singer) and Beethoven was his favorite. I can imagine him cheering you on. Kate
 

lgelb

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Glad you had that joy to carry on with, Karen! Surely Beethoven, who composed it while functionally deaf, would appreciate that.
 

GaryLee53

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Glad to see you are still playing, I'm still playing my guitar and drums.
Gary
 

KimT

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Karen,

Your post made me cry with sadness mixed with joy. Did they video the performance. I so enjoyed the last one you posted.
 

KarenNWendyn

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I don’t know if it was videod. If i find out, I’ll let you know. There were 100 people singing in the chorus and professional opera singers as soloists, so it was pretty awesome.
If you want to see a video that will bring tears to your eyes, check out Beethoven’s 9th flash mob on YouTube.
 

swalker

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Karen, I am so glad you were able to do this!

Beethoven is my favorite composer and his 9th symphony is my favorite piece of music.

We have wonderful concert series here and they play his 9th symphony about every other year. It is a real treat to be able to listen to it live.

I can only imagine how wonderful it must have been for you to be part of the performance.

What a great story!

Steve
 

KimT

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Karen, I saw that flash mob and it DID bring tears to my eyes.

When flash mobs started I was obsessed with them. Since I taught online I had plenty of time between questions to surf the web. I found so many beautiful pieces on YouTube.
 
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