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Clayton Haslop

An Evening Well Spent

May 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Every once in a while we are treated to something quite outside the boundaries of our normal lives.  Last night was certainly such an occasion for me.

The venue was the home next door.  The event was a little gathering to celebrate the culmination of the Spring session of an acting studio in which my dear neighbors participate.

Now Candice and Bob are really quite a remarkable couple.  Their energy seems boundless, and their interests are so eclectic and wide ranging as to boggle the mind.

Yet even knowing this, I was quite blown away by what transpired.

For the first hour and a half or so it was the normal party routine; food and chit-chat.

Then, quite out of the blue, somebody up and exclaims, ‘quite on the set, quite on the set!’ and the conversation dries up like spit in the desert. 

We’re lead to focus our attention on the end of the dining room table and the entertainment begins.

 A budding actor is introduced, we’re given a brief setup – he’s going to do a comedic improvisation of a TV Evangelist minister in prayer – and away he goes.

And it was good, very good.

This is quickly followed by another young man doing a soliloquy from a serious film – can’t remember which film it was taken from – in which he is making a heart-wrenching appeal to a woman about to walk out on him.

After two or three more of these ‘scenes’ my hosts turn in my direction and say, ‘Clayton, would you please go next door and get your violin?  I know these folks would love to hear something from you.’

Funny thing is I’d had a thought this might come up whilst practicing earlier in the day.  So I wasn’t completely taken off guard.

My contributions to the very lively salon in progress were portions of Saint-Saens’ ‘Rondo Capriccioso’, and ‘Zapateado’, of Pablo de Sarasate; both unaccompanied, of course.

And I’m happy to report that, in spite the stiffness of my left hand, I was sufficiently inspired to make quite a little performance of them.

I was followed by a woman reading poetry.

And so it went, long after I was forced to depart to take my dog out for his evening stroll and potty-break.

You know, the artists ‘salons’ of the 19th century were legendary.  Regrettably it seems that modern life, with its overabundance of ‘canned’ entertainment, has all but driven these soul-nourishing gatherings to the verge of extinction.

Last night I made a vow to begin a local ‘breeding program’ to keep that from happening.  And I certainly encourage you, too, to bring friends and loved ones together in a way that keeps the tradition alive in your neck of the woods as well.

I think we all deserve an abundant, interesting life.

All the best,

Clayton Haslop

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