Yesterday I had to let everyone who was coming to the next set of concerts that they wouldn’t happen. It filled me with great sadness. I know it’s the right thing to do, and anyway, the decision was made for me. St James decided that the concerts wouldn’t go ahead.
In all my years of playing, this has never happened. I’ve never been due to perform and then not. It’s a strange feeling. Ben Ward, my associate artist, has been nothing short of fabulous. Totally understanding. The people who I’ve spoken to at St James have also been very helpful. But still I feel terribly sad.
I listened with horror to a radio program yesterday about all the performances, shows, gigs and festivals that are stopping. Opera Australia may have to sell off assets. Will the already battered and fragile arts community in this country survive this crisis, I wonder?
It’s a sad time to be an artist. I feel strangely muted. Anxious and unable to speak through my cello. I know that this will pass – both the feeling and the crisis. I know that come the spring time, things will be different. This is not the end-of-days, and a friend reminded just at the time I needed to hear it.
But it’s hard. Standing apart from people is difficult. Not hugging people I see if difficult. And not performing what I had practised and rehearsed and got really excited about is also difficult for me.
I know that in a few days I’ll feel better. And I know what I will do. Because I know how it will make me feel. I will sit down at my dear, dear cello, and I will play Bach. And it will soothe and calm.
Thank you, J.S.B.