The cello felt awkward now.
She had to hold it differently, what it used to rest against was no longer there. That meant she also had to change her bowing and how she held her arms. In away, it was like learning to play all over again.
Losing her breast was something she could deal with, but she wasn’t prepared for the mastectomy to so severely affect her playing. She didn’t expect to be perfect immediately, but the extravaganza of sour notes pouring out of her instrument shook her confidence.
In the back of her mind, there was the creeping doubt that the Memphis Symphony Orchestra wouldn’t bring her back for the next season, that she’d be relegated to gigging weddings to make ends meet.
She practiced harder than ever to keep that fear at bay. Each bad note a challenge to be better.
Then one day at rehearsal, something happened.
“Alisa,” the conductor called her name from the podium. “First chair cello will be out for this concert. You take the lead.”
She looked around for a moment, stunned. “Me?”
“Well, yes.” He crossed his arms. “Unless you don’t think you can do it.”
“No.” She smiled. “I can.”
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has been a part of Memphis culture for over half a century. Started originally as a group of twenty-one musicians, the Memphis Sinfonietta outgrew their original performance space and moved into Ellis Auditorium where the group evolved into its current form.