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Chasing the Setting Sun

An evening, a couple of months ago. Matthieu and I were walking back home from work and the sun was setting. The sky was beautiful. Matthieu wanted to take a picture, but we were walking downhill, buildings or trees were in the way and the sun was setting too fast for the photo to be captured. So as we reached our apartment building, Matthieu tried to get on a higher point, and suggested going through the garage stairs. And up we went. We ended up on the roof of the garage and shot pictures. And it occurred to me that both of us had forgone a decent dinner time to run with our backpacks on after a piece of sky to immortalize a particular shade of light. That is what artists are. That is who we are.

That sunset that we were chasing takes many forms in our minds: a particular sound, a vision, a dream. We have often been told that we want to have it our way. True enough. As artists, we do want to have it our way, not because we are selfish and whimsical, but because for some creations to come to life, there cannot be a compromise or need to please other people. There is artwork that cannot be done if one doesn't invest all of themselves in them. And yet, there is a price to this, too. We have reached that point in our artistic life when we are willing to take the risk of flying on our own and do what we feel called to do our way, without compromise.

It is certainly a life filled with risk: financial risk, working overtime, and time management problems. We go from the surprises (good and bad) of substituting for colleagues in various churches and teaching to more ambitious concert production. At this point of our life, we do not have a regular venue for practice, so we go from a place to another, busying ourselves with transportation. We find and book artists to collaborate with between 11 PM and midnight, because it is the time at which artists are free to discuss after a long day. Emails, emails, emails... did I mention emails? Sight-reading, printing music just sent in for a service, telephone calls, more telephone calls, all the while keeping fit physically and musically, as well as the regular household tasks. Because there is no fixed schedule, there is no routine. My agenda is my best friend, and anxiety is looking for a close friendship as well.

However, at the heart of this is an artistic dream. Music shared with colleagues and an audience we hope to touch. Specific art projects and the hope of long-term partnerships. Wonderful discoveries too, like a beautiful chapel of a convent, or moments of grace while wandering in the streets while my husband is having his turn on the organ bench to practice. It is Montreal: crossroads between Europe and America. A special beat, a special cultural life, and always stars to chase.

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