Gamelan Day!

It’s funny how I can’t predict at all what might constitute a good day. For instance, today started off with me discovering that my car had been burglarized. Wallet? Gone. Cool customized briefcase? Gone. Running shoes? Gone.

Running shoes? Running shoes.

I was on my way to practice, by invitation, with an actual Gamelan. A Gamelan! I wasn’t going to let some petty thievery ruin that. Not when UK’s amazing parking snarl is so much more capable of sending me off the deep end. I was 20 minutes late to this thing that I’d been so looking forward to, and also a bit nervous about it because I didn’t know if I was totally out of my league, trying to do such a thing.

A few weeks earlier, I found out about the Gamelan (the Balinese term for orchestra) from my pal Ron, and—unbelievably—was told by him that newcomers were welcome.

“Can you count to four?” was Dr. Ron’s jovial retort when I asked him if I had to be able to read music to play with the Gamelan. So I excitedly marked my calendar, and exchanged email with the leader, Dr. Han, who said “come Han down!” Okay, so he didn’t really say that.

Anyway, I forgot that if you want to park close to UK when school is in session, ha ha, you are so not-going-to. And after getting near-coronary over finding a parking place, I showed up 20 minutes late… and it was no problem. Ron was there, Dr. Han happily proclaimed me to be “the new guy” and I got plopped down (shoes off, I was instructed) behind “The Grandfather,” (similar to picture), aka gangsa.

it turned out I just got in on the early run-throughs of a Gamelan version of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More. Huh?

I actually love this song. It’s so touching and beautiful, but as a Gamelan piece? Whodathunkit?

Anyway, I was freaked at first because I could barely even pretend to follow along, as we ran though it, and I was expecting at any minute for Dr. Han to thunk me over the head with a mallet and tell me to get out. But this didn’t happen. At one point I sputtered apologetically that it was just taking me a while to get the hang of it, and several people gaffawed sympathetically and said things like Oh yeah–Because we all got it immediately! So I relaxed some. And I was blessed with the experience of learning something new for a time. I followed the music, I listened to those around me, I got lost over and over again… and I got better.

It took a lot of concentration. A kind I’m not not practiced at, but that I think could be good for me. It’s the kind of concentration that I look for in meditation, where I attempt to direct all my attention at one repetitive thing, and thus doing, shunt out all the complex chatter that my head is so completely full of lately.

I stayed late after the rehearsal was over and tried to get the hang of my grandfather for a bit.

Then I went to the bank and canceled my debit cards and checking accounts.

0 Replies to “Gamelan Day!”

  1. Funny, someone stole MY running shoes out of MY car this morning! Is there a rabid pack of desperate joggers out there? Who would steal an entire bad of someone else’s stinky gym clothes???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *