I have a confession to make. I used to be a HUGE classical music nerd (as opposed to just being huge and just being a nerd).
What makes someone a classical music nerd? Aside from the fact that I played the piano, flute and violin (don’t be impressed, unfortunately only remember how to play the piano), I would watch the majestic Van Cliburn competition. From what I recall, this competition was aired on a station that most likely was PBS and showcased all of these incredible concert pianists from all over the world. It was American Idol before there was an American Idol.
The piano players would be asked to play several different types of pieces by different composers, and I thought it was magical. I was totally obsessed. I think that the winner received some sort of cash prize and a tour, playing in different concert halls around the country. (For more details on this competition, you will have to Google it, because this is all coming from the depths of my memory, which is covered in a light dusting of cobwebs and too much Tab drinking…)
The year that I followed it the most intensely was the year I watched it with my beloved and highly intelligent maternal grandmother. And the winner was…Andre Michel Schub. I was thrilled, as I had been a big fan of his, hanging onto every note he played. Mind you, he was still no Rick Springfield, and I was not going to be hanging a picture of Mr. Schub on my wall anytime soon. But his technique was impeccable, and it even made me practice just a teeny tiny bit more (but not enough to make any sort of difference. Spoiler alert — this column does not end with me playing a concert in Carnegie Hall.)
In any event, fast forward to a few months later. I was on a family vacation in Washington, DC. We might have been in a restaurant — the details are a little fuzzy (again, because of all of the Tab consumption — gosh darn saccharine) — and there he was…Andre Michel Schub. I couldn’t believe it.
And when I said his name, my mom probably thought I was talking about some kid in my class. (She didn’t listen to me much, me being the unruly middle child and all…) I was out of my mind with glee. And I had to go over. The man was so impressed that this prepubescent girl knew who he was that he offered my family tickets to see him play! (Not sure if that part of the story is true, but this is how I have been telling it. In all likelihood, my parents went and got the tickets because they are big classical music fans as well.)
What is it about famous people that gets us all giddy with excitement? When I walk around New York City, I will inevitably see someone famous and get all excited. Of course, the problem is that sometimes I don’t know their name or what they have been in and then I spend the rest of the day trying to describe to Google what this person looked like to see if it can come up with an answer. “You know, the guy who looks like the guy from Flashdance, but isn’t the guy from Flashdance?” (I never did find out who that was.) I starting thinking about this whole “star struck” thing because a friend of mine met Nick Jonas when she was in the city with her girls and they went crazy with the Instagram posts and Facebook posts. The funny thing was that another friend of mine must have been in the same neighborhood, because she and her girls also had a ton of Nick Jonas posts! (If you are too old to know who Nick Jonas is, you will just have to look him up. Sorry.)
And then there are my boys, who get star struck in a whole different way. With rabbis. Posters of rabbis adorned my sukkah this year. I know this is a very common thing, but for those of you who had these pictures hanging in your huts, how many of you spent a whole meal going over the different names and what they were famous for?
Yup, being star struck is all relative. But the truth is, whether it be a musician, an actor, or a rabbi, they bring out an excitement in us that makes us happy. And there is nothing wrong with being happy.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is still waiting to meet Barry Manilow on the street so she can sing Copacabana with him. A girl can dream….