Thursday, March 1, 2012

Yeah, Me and Jon Schmidt. We Hang Out, You Know

Back when I was a young, slim thing attending college, I got asked on a date that would create reverberations throughout my life. No, it wasn't with Husband; if you'll remember, I didn't date Husband at college. In fact, I didn't date him at all during our nine months of engagement. But that's another story, and I've already told it.

No, this date was with a boy I had known when he was an LDS missionary back in my home state in the North. I guess he called me up after he finished his mission and we went out a couple times. Nothing ever developed from those two or three dates we went on, but one night he took me to an exclusive concert held in one of his friends' homes. There were a group of young men and women around my age who attended, although I didn't know any of them (they were my date's friends). We had a casual dinner, and I remember feeling distinctly shy and somewhat uncomfortable. They were friendly enough, I think, and I was as outgoing and chatty as I could be, given the fact that I am a natural introvert and hadn't yet learned the extrovert skills that would help me on my own mission.

During the concert, Anthony (my exceedingly handsome date) put his arm around me and then held my hand a bit. I don't know who was more surprised, I or his friends. I caught the girls constantly casting glances our way and I suddenly had the impression that maybe he was using me to get someone's attention. But when the pianist was playing, I forgot everything else and just soaked it in.

This young pianist, a tall, skinny newly married man who had brought his glowing, pregnant wife with him, was so skilled and so entertaining that he made a deep impression on me -- enough so that I went home and wrote his name in my journal when I described the evening. Nearly 20 years later, I heard his name again, and I eagerly attended a concert he gave for our stake a few years ago. But it wasn't until late last year that I got to speak to him in person when he came to our little town and gave a concert in our local music store. You may or may not have heard of Jon Schmidt, but he's got some YouTube videos that feature him and the extraordinarily talented cellist he collaborates with. The videos are produced by The Piano

Anyway, after the concert, the attendees were able to go and buy his CDs and music books and get them autographed, and since there were only 30 or so people in the room, I didn't feel bad about taking a few moments and telling Jon that I had seen him play way back when at that little concert in Anthony's friend's house. He laughed and joked that it was probably a pretty bad concert, since he had been so young. No, I had thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the weirdness of the rest of the evening (which I didn't even mention, of course).

If you ever get the chance to meet him, he's one of those genuine, friendly, and very humble people you warm up to in a moment. During his concerts, he talks to the audience, laughing and joking even while his fingers fly up and down the keyboard. He reminds me a lot of my next youngest brother, in fact. 

As for Anthony, he stopped calling me soon after that date. I called him once when I was in his town watching one of my roommates sing in an opera, but he was so distant and cold, I got the hint pretty quickly. If my impression at that little concert was right, I hope he got the girl's attention and lived happily ever after.

Here's Jon Schmidt playing one of his most popular compositions: