Six is the number of Chiara Quartet members that have been traveling to play concerts recently. But there are four members in a quartet you say? Yes, but we have an unusual situation right now where two women of the quartet each have a baby under one year of age. Becca has a wonderful 11-month old girl with a drop-dead gorgeous smile and I, with my husband Greg (yes, the cellist of the quartet), have a 5-month old girl who is…again wonderful.
How do we manage? That’s a very good question since we ask ourselves that same question everyday. The amount of luggage we had, traveling with two babies for the first time, was breathtaking (cribs, suitcases, cello, strollers, car seats, diaper bags), and Jonah wasn’t even traveling with the three of us. How did we manage? Well, we received some help from a baggage handler, a friend, and most importantly, we laughed and kept it light. Here’s a picture from that first trip, Omaha to Washington D.C. It really doesn’t do justice since most of our luggage was under the plane or getting there. Greg and I have learned to travel a bit lighter since then.
Now, a little word about playing concerts like a Beethoven cycle or recording the Brahms G-Major String Quintet (which we did with guest violist Roger Tapping in November) with babies in tow: we more than manage! We are using our time more wisely-rehearsing efficiently, focusing on the most important matters and not getting bogged down with details. Due to more efficient rehearsals and/or to collective parenthood (Jonah has a two year old son and Becca has another daughter who is five years old), we are more open to trying new ideas and are playing with renewed energy and commitment.
Are our children inspiring us?
But we realize that this is all moot and our dream of playing a Beethoven cycle (which is finally happening this year!) is not even remotely possible if we didn’t have help from our parents aka grandparents, especially grandmothers who have gone on tour with us.
So here’s to grandparents, like grandma Beaver below, who was backstage during our concert at Strathmore Mansion taking care of both babies with calm and grace.