is this for real
Trudy Schroeder
Random Notes

As I was writing for the January issue several months ago, I thought about how balanced and beautiful and auspicious the year 2020 looked on paper. As we head into April, I know how this year will be remembered in history. 

2020 will forever be the year of Coronavirus, just as 1919 was remembered as the year of the great Spanish flu epidemic. I have just looked it up, and that epidemic killed more than 100 million people. (That reminder does help to put things into perspective somewhat.) We are anxious and concerned about the state of the world, and the state of the economy, and the state of our personal retirement savings accounts, but we do have a good indicator that our communications and tools for dealing with medical pandemics have advanced considerably since 1919.

Despite all of the very grim warnings, most of us are quite likely to come out of this particular medical concern with good health. Barring a medical catastrophe in your personal life this year, how can you shape this very odd year to overlay the disaster with some positive uses for the time we are supposed to spend in social isolation? The prescription for significant solitary confinement in our homes will be very difficult for the extroverts among us. I am trying to come up with some challenges for myself so that I will be able to look back on 2020 and remember all the challenges and fears we all faced this year, but also remember it as a year of some personal accomplishments that may benefit from some of the time I may have in the coming weeks.

This may be the year for me to try the radical decluttering program that many people seemed to be working on last year. (How did that go, by the way?) Or maybe, I should try the Keto diet that many other people were trying last year. (How did that go, by the way?) Or maybe this is the year to learn a new Bach Prelude and Fugue. (Well, now for me that would be a very enjoyable project.) My daughters have suggested that we should all work on learning to cook a number of recipes together, but in our separate houses in Amsterdam, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. We could have a long distance culinary training program. That could prove to have some lasting benefits.

There are so many things I had planned for this year that clearly will not happen the way I had planned. Unless a miracle occurs, it is highly unlikely that the WSO trip to the Netherlands to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will happen. So many of us have worked for five years to make this dream possible, and against all the odds we pulled together a program and found the necessary resources, and it seemed that this project would come to fruition. Unless the concert halls in the Netherlands open up and there is a way to fly the orchestra over there, is seems likely that in the next week or two I will have to cancel that wonderful project. Can it be rescheduled? Maybe. 

The disappointments and difficult decisions facing us these days are heart breaking. However, I do believe firmly that there is also a need to prepare for the best possible outcome in the long term and work hard to prepare ourselves and our organizations for a strong and vibrant future. 

Trudy Schroeder is the Executive Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.