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Kelsey Z.

June 14, 2004 at 6:55 PM

How often do you have an entire 800 seat, acousticly friendly, concert hall (well...highschool auditorium, but it's the concert hall for that city and it's nicer then come concert halls I've been in!) all to yourself? That was the case for me yesterday! I was playing in a year end concert that the music school was putting on and I was supposed to be early to rehearse the fiddle stuff with the little kids. I arrived at 1pm (concert started at 2) and there was no one there yet. I was a few minutes early, but I was suspecting teachers would be there getting music stands or something, and I wanted to claim a spot for my case and make sure there was a room or place I could go and warm up after the fiddle stuff before I played the Vitali Ciaccona. I checked the backstage doors to see if they were open, and to my great suprise they opened with ease. I walked in, and other then the centre stage light being on there was no signs of anyone having been there or being around. I of course, had to walk out on stage and marvel at what it felt like to look out to the hall at the seats, and then I couldn't resist. I was alone, I was in a big hall with good acoustics and no one was appearing to care there I was standing there with a violin draped over my shoulder. I went off to the side of the stage and un-packed my violin and walked out onto the stage and tuned. The response was amazing! For sure nothing like the Orpheum in Vancouver would be, but for me, it was as if I had died and gone to heaven. A girl and her parents came in just as I was about to start playing some Bach, and they said "play us something". So with them off to the side of the stage I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and started into a piece I wrote for solo violin and just played, listened, tried to absorb the sound and the way everything bounced around in the hall. Unfortunatly people soon started to come in and I had to seize and go and help find music stands, but to have those few moments to just play on the stage, with only the lights on the stage on, just gazing out to the audience and hearing how everything reacted, I was a happy girl!

After running through the fiddles tunes with the little kids and quickly looking through some more music for a fiddle piece that I was going to sightread with the group, I left the stage and went and trashed my stuff with relatives who had arrived. After we played the fiddle tunes I grabbed my practice mute and waterbottle, went and washed my hands and went and began to warm up, came back and watched a couple people who wanted me to see them play and who I wanted to watch see, made sure that it was going to be alright that my Dad who would be playing the Vitali with me, to move the Steinway out on stage a bit more. (I feel that he's as much of an equal in that piece as I am, and he deserves to get to be out there and not off to the side where things feel detached) After listening for a bit to a bunch of suzuki kids I decided I should warm up some more to make sure my hands were in gear and were going to be well warmed up to play. I went backstage again and listened to the last suzuki group who were playing a gavotte and the Dvorak Humeresque. Then it was my turn! My Dad and I walked out on stage, got the piano in place, tuned and as I nodded that I was ready when he was what should come from one the dressing rooms backstage, but whistling. One of the teachers (someone who I don't get along with very well and it's a rather long story as to why, but basicly he doesn't like me and I don't like him) was whistling the Dvorak Humeresque. The audience could hear it, and they laughed and so my Dad walked off stage and told him that we was audible in the audience, and to please cut it out while we were playing. So with this Dvorak Humeresque stuck in my head (which I love, but not when I'm trying to play something like the Vitali by memory and in one of the neatest settings of a Steinway, and great hall, I didn't want to kill my piece because of some annoying little piece) we re-grouped, and started. The first page had a really un-natural vibrato to it, and in one spot harmony wise the Dvorak thing seemed to just jump out at me, I screwed up a fingering, resulting in a really horrible bar, but I continued with my mind set on concentrating on the task at hand. I kept playing and soon the Dvorak was finally out of my head and I was able to relax and just play. Once I was sure that Dvorak wasn't going to sneak out at me again I reminded myself to not concentrate so hard and just enjoy the sound of the wonderful 9ft grand piano and violin melding together. Other then that one really awful bar in the first page it went overall really well with a few minor intonation things, but overall it was a controlled, good performance, I felt. I nailed all those octave double stops and got the thirds with the leaps up to the octaves well in tune and controlled, and played them really confidently. I was pleased! The best part is my teacher was there to watch it from far side of the stage. Yay! A successful concert down. One to go.

I had to leave right after I played, at intermission (I was last on the first half of the program). It was onto a piano recital. I sure wish I had had a Steinway for the next recital....

At my piano recital I played a duet with my piano teacher, just a fun easy kind of jazzy, Latin song by Christopher Norton, then a couple pieces later I got to play the opening movement of the Beethoven Pastorale Sonata. That was a bit nerve wracking. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be, which I was thankful for. I was also thankful I had had the chance to try out the piano prior to the recital beginning. It has this really horrible, almost like playing into jumbo marshmallows, touch. Not the most ideal thing for that lovely ostinato in the Beethoven, or for some of those runs. Hmm....oh well! It went pretty good. I don't think I could have asked for a much better performance of the work and my teacher was pleased! A couple more pieces went by, and I was up again! Though this time playing violin. I played the Obertass Mazurka by Wieniawski. Just something, short, easy and fun. It went really well also.

In the morning before all of this I had to be into town relatively early, so I went to my Grandparents place and practice for about an hour and a half before all the concert stuff started, so by time I got home it had been a long, and tiring day. I still had to play yet. Tonight I'm playing a piece as a "guest artist" at a concert my sister is doing, and the composer of the piece is going to be in the audience. Being informed I was to play the piece not even a week ago, I definetly needed to practice it and practice it with my brother (who is playing the piano part to the piece. The piece was written for him and I to perform at a special fundraiser concert in February of this year) since the most we'll get to practice together today will be an hour before we play to just run through things to make sure the lighting and everything will work out alright.

So now that I've had a break to write this I think I should go and work on that piece a bit right now.

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