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Mendy Smith

Day 39 - Giving up Stage Fright for Lent

March 12, 2009 at 6:18 AM

After the audition earlier this month, my pianist asked me to play the Bloch with her at her church, to which I agreed.  It's actually quite ironic playing this piece in particular (a Jewish call to prayer) for Lent.  I'm not much of a religious person, but my pianist and I prayed before the performance - for me to not get the "shakes", forget any notes, play them in tune, share the joy of this piece, safe journey to Texas, etc...  We both vowed to NOT cry!!! 

Then it was time.  There were about a hundred or so people in the chapel.  My pianist and friend introduced me and the piece.  The opening phrases started off as beautiful as ever .  I got to the cadenza, closed my eyes, tilted my ear closer to the f-hole and visualized that I was in my own living room.  Mostly I played with my eyes closed, trying to stay in that moment in time where it is about the music and ONLY the music.  I finished off the piece with the low D, letting it diminish with the piano. 

After the sound faded away completely, I opened my eyes, lifted my bow from the string, lowered my viola and looked up for the first time.  There was a moment of silence then a round of applause.  My pianist and friend had a huge smile on her face, and when I looked at the faces of the congregation, they were full of smiles.  The pastor gave me a warm thank you.

As I "snuck" out of the church (I had a rehearsal to attend), several folks whispered to me:  "That was lovely!",  "Beautiful!", "Thank you so much for sharing that with us."  I was able to project what this piece is all about, a call to prayer, without a single thought entering my mind any technical aspect of playing, without shaking or getting nervous even once.  A miracle in my book. 

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 12, 2009 at 10:55 AM

That's how I felt when I heard the piece too--very prayerful and reverent.  How wonderful that you have reached that point in playing this piece!  Playing in church is a great experience, but I still get stage fright. :(

From Terez Mertes
Posted on March 12, 2009 at 8:30 PM

 Aww, what fun to read. Nice job. : )

Posted on March 12, 2009 at 9:20 PM

GOOD FOR YOU...makes all the hard work worth while doesn't it

From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 13, 2009 at 4:19 AM

 Wonderful, Mendy. Sounds like a mutual blessing for all present.


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