That’s pretty much the only word that comes to mind, that describes what last weekend.
No. I take that back.
I can think of another one…
This has been a long time coming. Concretely, it’s been almost exactly a year since Andrew told me. In fact I believe it was Barret’s birthday/return home announcement to my parents… as if having their son move home from NYC after 6 years wasn’t good enough news. But looking back on what really and truly culminated in this past weekend and the one to come… well I think it began long before that.
I had on my purple long sleeved floral dress. After all, it did have the best twirl-factor. Bear, a mess of wild curls that poked out his bike helmet, wielded his battery operated light-up sword, fit in his suit of armor: a matching Mikey Mouse sweatshirt & sweatpants. And together we danced in circles around the living room furniture to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, or Manheim Steamroller, or Mozart – whatever dad had playing on our stereo system. Actually I should revise that statement… I danced. Bear would try to follow me (a near impossible task), would then charge about doing his own thing with the helmet and sword that made “Jjshhzzz” noises every time you swung it, only to give up, making his way to the piano bench. That’s where he’d always end up. In front of the black and white keys.
We’d always had that piano in the living room. Purchased because my dad needed something to fill the space in his Spokane home, it came with us when we moved to Bellevue. I wonder if Dad had any idea the life-altering consequence this “space-filler” would have that fateful day he bought it? Probably not. I’m not sure if we (my brother and I) were even a thought then. But God has His ways…
I remember sitting there on that bench with him looking out at the beautiful Katsura trees that draped oh so gracefully alongside that corner of the house. I remember hearing him play. Sometimes we’d come up with tunes together. Sometimes he’d just fiddle away. Most of the songs sounded very “asian.” I’m not sure if this is because of the decor in our living room or the fact that we both really like the skinny black keys. At any rate I think the first song Barret ever wrote was a simple picture drawn of the keys he played and its title had something to do with Chinese mountain ranges… He could probably tell you… But even then I was always in awe (and if I’m honest slightly jealous) of his creative ability.
I still am.
The thought of composing music baffles me utterly. To hear a symphony in your head, with all the different instruments and sounds melding together in perfect harmony – each with their own notes, own cadence, own melodies but coming together to form something so rich and multifaceted, yet unified. Nope. I could never ever do that. I can hardly wrap my mind around it. And yet that’s what my not-so-little brother does.
I write with words. I speak in dance steps. But he speaks with music. His letters are musical notes and his sentences are melodies and phrases. He punctuates with rhythm and percussion, not semi-colons and ellipses. And just like himself, his music, his composition isn’t simple “Mary had a little lamb” nursery rhyme stuff. It’s complex. It’s deep, soothing, repetitive, and arresting. It’s sometimes a bit harmoniously dissonant. A bit oxymoronic I know, but aren’t we all?
Well fast forward 20+ years. A ballerina and a composer. Well who’d a thunk it?! God did. He knew. He created both Barret and I. He knit us in our Momma’s womb. He gave Barret this incredible gift – to hear music in his head and write it down. He gave me the gift of being able to dance to it. And He gave us parents who encouraged us, supported us and spurred us on to develop and grow these gifts, and for what end? To glorify Him. To be living proof that with Him, nothing is impossible. To do that which He created and purposed us for, being good stewards of the gifts He’s given us.
To make music and dance.
So I know that it is not only a fulfillment of my parents dreams, of my dreams but also of God’s plan that a year ago Andrew Bartee commissioned my brother to write a score for his ballet. A brilliant ballet (if you can call it that… Andrew calls it a dance party) that would premiere on the McCaw Hall stage during PNB’s 40th Anniversary season. A ballet about breaking through barriers. About changing perceptions, expectations and situations. About “arms that work.” And I get to dance it. Dance to my brother’s music.
It happened last weekend. And it was surreal to say the least. Running to bring my brother on stage… Two Anspachs taking a bow. I tried so hard to relish that moment and yet how quickly it flitted away. Nevertheless it was a gift from my Abba Father. A gift I still get to receive. Not just once, but twice.
So if you don’t have plans this weekend come see the Gift played out on stage. Better yet, receive the gifts that God’s given both my brother and I to minister to your eyes and ears and most importantly to give Him glory! Thursday through Sunday (but I’ll be dancing Thursday night and Sunday afternoon). You can buy your tickets here.
And for your viewing pleasure here’s Bear and I doing a duet of our own. Sitting a the piano bench together. Just like the old days. Except now we’re old. Well relatively speaking… Enjoy!
Five Easy Pieces – I. Andante from Barret Anspach on Vimeo.