The Russians Aren’t Coming — They’re Here

At risk of prompting a NSA wiretap, I’ll admit the big news of my week.

I visited Russia. Its music, that is.

Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra program

Courtesy of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, DH and I heard the best of three composers in what was billed as “Russian Fireworks.” Also on display was a full range of art, collectibles, and life goods from the Russian Cultural Center of Houston, Our Texas (sic).

At the Stafford Center? Near Houston?

Blog post deadline looming, I headed inside the concert hall, recognizing only one composer—Tchaikovsky.

But at “Symphony No. 2 – Little Russian,” my ears poked up, Spock-like. They pointed even higher when conductor Dr. Dominque Royem offered, Little Russian references the Ukraine.” 

FBSO on Stafford Center stage

How often our desperate escapes lead us back to the Real World!

How could I not  think of present-day political realities? As the orchestra thundered through the composition, my mind launched. 

It imagined world domination by multiple autocrats. Armageddon beckoned in the brass and strings. Amid cymbal bursts and trumpet blasts, my body slunk deep into the red velvet seat. 

Wild imaginings soared. Long pause. Self-talk roared back. 

Strings crescendoed. Gongs clanged.

You came here to escape mental meanderings! This is what art can do for you. Step away into this world, not that one. Just for this afternoon. Hand over heart, my breath began to slow.

Post-concert and heart calm, we sauntered through a lobby with cruising babushkas hawking samovars. So much color!

An interesting discovery about the lavish metal pots. Samovar is basically a fancy tea pot. For this daily tea drinker, it took discipline to not buy this samovar. I consoled with practicality: too big for a single user, too ornate for expanding Zen tastes.

Through both music and merchandise, gratitude surged from deep inside me.

I rediscovered why I attend cultural events. Each one expands my horizons and eliminates ancient biases. Only one-on-one connection can minimize, eliminate outdated propaganda.  

Hug-a-Bear with Royem and Ormand?

Sometimes those links get really close, as when the hug-generous conductor walks by.

Besides samovars, babushkas, and bears, I discovered a new appreciation for grand and battle-worthy music.

All my life, I’ve been a lover, not a fighter.

What prompts this rush to big, bold, and brash?