Conservatory redux

by Laura A

Conservatory starts again next week.  Thankfully, it’s close to the school and Sarie is able to use her three-hour break on Wednesdays to practice there.

Yesterday when Sarie found her assigned practice room at the conservatory, she noticed that there was a faculty meeting going on in the room next door. There were even some distinguished-looking guests. She decided that she needed to practice extra carefully, making sure her mind didn’t wander for any of the two hours.  Once or twice she even looked up to see an adult face peeking in at the door, but she didn’t waver.

Towards the end of the practice session, there was a knock. The American violin teacher, Christine Anderson, poked her head in the door. After forty years in Italy, she still has a casual Midwestern manner.

“We all think you sound great,” began Ms. Anderson, “But we’ve been hearing nothing but Mendelssohn for two hours!  Do you think you could play something else?”

A little while earlier in the session, a conductor had knocked on the door as well.  “I’m looking for one more second violin for my orchestra,” he told Sarie.  “Would you be interested?”

A paying gig, with professionals, for a production of La Traviata.  Of course she was interested!


After dinner, Sarie sat down to write the conductor for more details about the performance.  She wanted to say, “My parents think this is a fantastic opportunity,” in Italian.  (We do?  Well, we think at least an adult will make sure there’s a way to get to the concert.)

“I don’t think this is right,”  I said. “For family members, you don’t use an article with the possessive.

“It’s right.  I just know,” insisted Sarie.  She also used to argue that Handel messed up when composing Judas Maccabaeus.  And that “disappointed” had five syllables.  So I started typing search terms into Google to settle the matter.

Sarie watched over my shoulder as I typed.  Then she started to laugh. “I think you need some different search terms, or you may find out way more than you wanted to know.”

I looked at the screen.  I had written, “Possessive Italian relatives.”

And she was right about the article.