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Here I am right now, currently sitting in a motel in South Bend IN.  And a cheesy one at that too.  This being a football weekend, this motel (A national discount motel chain) which would normally probably charge around $50 a night is now charging $100 a night.  But that's neither here nor there.  

Tonight also, as I'm writing this, the surviving Monkees are performing in downtown Chicago.  I have a ticket to see them.

So why am I in South Bend in this cheap motel room instead of watching the Monkees?  

This weekend is theAll-Region Honor Band festival which happens throughout the state.  All-Region is a festival where schools from different regions in the state nominate seventh through ninth graders to participate in an honor band.  They get to meet kids just like them from schools all over.  Friendships are made, and they work real hard for two days to rehearse and practice music, and the climax is a concert on Sunday afternoon under the baton of a guest conductor where they get to show off.

And this year, I get to be the guest conductor at the All-Region in South Bend.

So here I was when I got the offer to do this:  Going to see the Monkees now became an act of self gratification.  And it was competing with something bigger:  A chance to teach and to share an experience with young musicians.  If I said no to the All-Region, I would be doing so simply out of personal gratification--two hours of pleasure, now tinged with a bit of guilt and regret.

And besides, this is going to be a lot more fun.  It's my passion.  It's my calling.  And I'm GOOD at it.

And of course, the benefits of me doing this conducting gig are more than the pleasure I get from working with the kids like that.  I get noticed.  And it's always a good resume padder.  And it's a huge ego boost as well.

But with that ego boost comes some heavy responsibility.  I am responsible for the affirmation and the learning experience these kids will get.  I am responsible for making sure that their experience is a positive one and that they go home with a wonderfully played concert under their belts and tons of applause and admiration from their audience.

Now I titled this diary "Want vs Need vs Love".  Because while I really wanted to go to the Monkees tonight, I'm doing something I love, and in the long run, something I need to do.  Because we're all faced with these choices--about what you want vs what you need, and how often they bang up against each other while being polar opposites.  And, as one finds out in the end, how what you need is actually what you really want.

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