Music has definitely been first and foremost for me these past few weeks. Nutcracker shows at the New York City Ballet started just the day after Thanksgiving; yet in that short time, I’ve already played 15 shows! Does playing the same thing over and over get old? How do musicians pace themselves when they have to play multiple shows a day? Answers to these questions and more are the subject of this post, as I invite you to take an illustrated look at my music life.

An illustrated look at my music life…

Starts outside the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center!

An illustrated look at my music life - cartoon photo drawing of the artist outside Lincoln Center

Not pictured, of course, is the black mask that I have to wear during every show. All of the musicians (though not the woodwind or brass players) are currently required to be masked while performing. (Dancers are not masked.) The entire company is also PCR-tested at least once a week.

Further changes to this year’s Nutcracker include the absence of any dancer under 12 years of age. Because vaccines for the under-12 age bracket were not yet available when rehearsals started, the company made the difficult decision to ban the “littlies” from this year’s production. Where necessary, the costumes have been remade to fit the slightly older children. The costumes, of course, look great, but I do miss seeing the teeny children who usually dance the angels at the start of Act 2. Not only are they adorable, but they’re often accidentally funny, too. (Over the years, I’ve seen more than one angel trip on her feet and take a tumble; and, one year an angel even dropped her “lyre” with a loud crash to the floor.)

An illustrated look at my music life…

Wouldn’t be complete without a behind-the-scenes look at the oh-so-glamorous locker room where I store my viola. It’s a quiet place to check my texts and Instagram activity, as well as to take a nap.

An illustrated look at my music life - catching some shut eye in the locker room at NYCB.

Of course…

A highlight of the many trips back and forth to Lincoln Center, is just being able to be a part of the “city that never sleeps.”

Ink and colored pencil illustration of a snowy night in the city that never sleeps

And when my spirts start to flag after a day with four hours of playing, I remind myself how very fortunate I am to truly love what I do!


    • Joana says:

      Or, so it seems. Those of us with more intimate inside knowledge know that the life rarely feels charmed. 😉

      xox – J

  1. Helen Reich says:

    Lovely illustrations, and I was wondering about some of those things. I’m glad you chose not to post any masked musicians; I’ve seen my fill over the last 1.5 years, and they’re not the least bit attractive. I applaud your taste and restraint!

    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen, After taking photos of masked friends (as well as selfies), I have quickly realized that there are no masked photos that look decent. (Thank God that the dancers don’t have to perform with masks!)

      I wore my sequined mask to an outing with a friend today, but it was mostly for show. Since we were outside, the masks came off pretty much right away.

      I hope you have a lovely weekend!
      xox – Joana

    • Joana says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice! 🙂

      The audiences have been even very enthusiastic this year. What a relief to be able to perform, and to attend concert, theater and ballet shows again. Someday (maybe soon?) we’ll be able to ditch the masks; that said, it feels like a small price to pay for a return to having a semblance of normalcy.

      I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

      All best wishes,

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