As I was driving through busy downtown Seattle traffic yesterday afternoon while listening to Classical King FM, I heard an announcement on the station that Joshua Bell was coming to the Pantages Theater in Tacoma soon. For those who aren’t familiar with Joshua Bell, he’s one of the most reknowned concert violinists in the world and one of the lucky few to own a gorgeous Stradivarious.
This triggered a sequence of thoughts in my mind that went kind of like this:
“Ah, Joshua Bell. That’s right, he was recently named maestro of St. Martin in the Fields. He’s come such a long ways from when he came to visit me in High School.”
And then I thought about some of the other talented (famous) musicians I’ve had the opportunity to meet over the years. I thought it would be fun to have story-telling week here on my facebook page. I’ll tell you all my stories about my meet-ups with music celebs, and you do the same! I love to hear stories.
So here’s the real scoop on Joshua Bell.
When I was in 10th grade, I played the violin in our high school orchestra. We were so fortunate to have guest conductors/artists come visit us every now and then. One time we had Joshua Bell. He was super young then, and not as widely known, and I was slightly less attractive with frizzy hair and zits. But it was a big enough deal that he came for a visit that the city newspaper came and did a story on it. I so wish that I could find the newspaper clipping because yours truly was in the photo with him!
Anyway, he did a masterclass with us, conducted us, did Q&A, all of us 15 year old girls swooned over him, and then he showed us his awesome violin and how much it was worth. At the time he only had a $1 Million dollar Stradivarious, now he has a $4 mill one.
Then he got super famous after that.
Then when I was 25 years old, I worked at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle for the Seattle Symphony. I was in the education department. It was an underpaid office-rat type of job, but it had its benefits because I got to go to as many free symphony concerts as I wanted, meet famous musicians, and I got to play piano and violin all day long.
I met Joshua Bell once again. Once in the artist lounge at Benaroya (I was on break and he was getting a concert hall tour), and then again after his concert that evening. I stood in a long line of people with my date, waiting to get his autograph and shake his hand after the concert. I kept rehearsing in my head what I was going to say to him when I finally got up to him. ”Hi, you probably don’t remember me, but you came to my high school orchestra when I was 15.” Wait, is that going to make him feel super old? Or maybe he won’t remember and he’ll just look at me confused? And then all of a sudden it was my turn and all I could muster out was “Hiiiii, you did a really great job and it’s so nice to meet you.” with a huge star-struck grin.
He had a wet noodly weak handshake. I will say that. And I wasn’t super impressed with his black untucked collared shirt and black pants. It made him look slightly like Luke Skywalker. But other than that, he’s great and I would say we’re pretty much BFF’s. Although, I don’t know if he knows my name, and I think he lost my number, and we don’t really have any immediate plans to say hi again in the near future.
There is my famous musician story of the day – Joshua Bell.
Read more of Famous Musician Week here.