Musician Behind the Mask: Theresa McCoy, Principal Timpani
Theresa was born in Ashland, but left for college and ended up spending a decade living in Los Angeles – finishing her music degree and working as a studio and freelance musician. Since she and her husband returned to the Rogue Valley, she’s been working as an IT professional and doing as much music as she can in her off hours. Not just a timpanist, Theresa can be heard (in non-covid times) around the valley in a wide variety of ensembles, including Opus 3, Salsa Brava, Sonido Alegre, and Timberline Express Big Band, to name a few. Theresa has been playing with RVS since about 2005.
How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?
This crisis has brought my music life to a screeching halt! I think 20+ performances were canceled, in addition to a big recording project I had planned in our studio. I have continued teaching lessons via Zoom, but that is definitely not ideal. I feel cut off from my people!! Making music with and for people is such a huge joy in my life. I don’t mind a small break from music-making. I have taken breaks before and come back refreshed, with new ideas. I just hope this doesn’t go on too long.
Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?
I think nearly every aspect of my professional life is affected in some way. Even though much of my work takes place in solitude in normal times, even that work feels different.
What do you think is the role of musicians now?
I think we have a few roles. One, is to do what we can to keep the flame burning—whether that is by posting music from days gone by, experimental music-making in isolation, or making music in the great outdoors for any within hearing to enjoy. Also, we can absorb this moment. Musicians are interpreters of life. The effects of this time will come out in our music.
Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine?
I’ve been reading like a maniac! I’m reading three books concurrently right now. And I’ve been spending a lot of time working in my yard. The up side of all this for me has been enjoying time at home without suffering any FOMO. My life often feels a little frantic. This enforced slowdown has its benefits. Also, we recently dusted off our Dungeons & Dragons characters! Sean and I used to play D&D from time to time in the ‘80s. Now, my oldest daughter has discovered the game and brought it into the 21st century. We recently played via video-conference with our daughters, each in their own homes: Portland, Eugene, and Sacramento. Such fun! We’ve adventured twice so far, and are planning another one for sometime this summer.
Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share?
I recently finished Jan Swafford’s biography “Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph.” Wow! What a great book! He really brought Beethoven to life as a flesh and blood man, rather than the mythic figure. And Swafford throws in just enough music analysis to really appeal to the musician in me. I think any admirer of Beethoven would enjoy this book, but particularly a musician.
What’s something you’re grateful for today?
I’m grateful that I have not lost anyone close to me to this virus. I’m grateful for this caring community. There have been so many acts of kindness and a drawing together even though we have to keep our physical distance.
What’s something you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to hugging every person in my life!!! The few times I’ve been in the company of friends, it’s been all I can do to resist jumping over and trapping them in the biggest bear hug I have in me!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I just want to send my love out to all our patrons. I miss sharing our common bond. I hope we will be united in beautiful music again soon!
Curious about our other musicians? Visit http://rvsymphony.org/news/ to read more. New posts are added weekly or so.