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Steinways and Marmots  

Hi Sarah, 

I do love being back among the girls! Little clusters of them, feeling their way around the school. Sort of like geese keeping each other warm, and somewhere in the group, a mother goose to lead them.

Finally had our meeting last Wed. and such accommodating gestures on the part of admin. Time slotting for lessons has never been easier. With the new individual student profile sheets I can see a student’s timetable at a glance. But that doesn’t eliminate the calls and emails to parents, the back and forth business of making it work. Will they do RCM exams? Pop? Jazz? How long for each lesson? What do I require from them re. practice input. A confident, authoritative tone is good. It motivates, says we're getting started here.

I managed to reach one family by texting the father in New York. One mother I reached on her cell as she was standing at her sister’s bedside at St. Joseph’s Hospital where her sister has just lost one breast. And I'm talking piano to her. She tells me her medical troubles. I say call me later. I'm so sorry. She tells me it’s been three years of hell. Franca, her daughter, is a vulnerable 13 year old. She’s in with the wrong group at St.Hildegarde Academy. The lead bully reduces her daily to tears. They smoke, experiment with guys from Appleby. Franca plays Dussek sonatinas and resembles a Renaissance Madonna with Mona Lisa eyes.  Can you help her? Her mother asks.

I talk to the Tuchties, Dubois and Bertollis, the Harringtons, Chisholms and Changs. When parents answer the phone their voices echo in hollow mansions. We settle lesson times and dates and I get directions to their ravine and waterfront residences, mostly in Old Oakville. I remember getting lost once in one of these spectacular homes after a trip to the bathroom.

Some of the little ones are so precious. Like the one who stopped playing her Steinway mid-phrase in a mood piece about the sky and asked if I was afraid of rodents. No. Are you?

No. She shakes her head. I want to introduce you to my marmot later. On my way out she did cartwheels on the black and white chequered floor of the foyer.

Ok gotta go. More calls to make. But will be telling you all about my first week back. By the way, those Rubens nudes we'll be seeing soon at the AGO are not unlike what you will see when you come to visit Hildegarde. The halls are full of sculptured tits and bosoms not to mention cool representations of backsides. Early exposure!

See you.   


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