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Twenty years ago today I gave my NYC recital debut.
 
It was a cold, rainy Sunday. 
 
I woke up with a strange mixture of anticipation and utter dread.
 
As I made my way into the cab to get to the hall, the rain stung my face.
 
“I can’t do this…”
 
Luckily, there was a tremendous amount of traffic in midtown. 
 
I secretly hoped that I would not make it in time for my own concert. 
 
Yes…isn’t that crazy?
 
“I can’t do this…”
 
Well, for better or worse, I did make it to the hall in time. 
 
As I paced backstage, nerves causing my body to grow ice cold I spotted the ‘Emergency Exit’ sign.
 
I thought
 
“If I just slip out and board a plane to Mexico for a while, it probably would be an easier proposition than facing the crowd.”
 
“I can’t do this…”
 
2:00 came. I was tapped on the shoulder.
 
“It’s time Margaret…”
 
And I stepped out on stage to face the music.
 
The Steinway D stood on stage taunting me. It was both as a lion and a lamb…
 
The invitation for me to grow a lion’s confidence in the blink of an eye in order (the ultimate paradox) to surrender as a lamb.
 
A lamb has no defenses.
 
Yet has the greatest talent of all:
 
A lamb can hear with discernment. 
 
A lamb recognizes the shepherd’s voice 
 
As I surrendered at the Steinway my nerves, fears and insecurities melted away as the music came to life and strength started flowing again through my veins. 
 
It was an amazing concert. 
 
As my last piece I performed my beloved ‘Dante Sonata’ of Liszt. 
 
As if reading the pulses of my heart it resonated the agony and the ecstasy. 
 
This is not merely a piece of music…It is a window to the world of the afterlife.
 
I encourage you to watch this video of my performance of the Dante Sonata which includes the poetry of Victor Hugo that inspired the masterpiece as well as exquisite drawings of Gustave Dore from Dante’s Divine Comedy. 
 
Today, no matter what you may be facing, even if you’re white knuckled with fear,
 
DO IT AFRAID.