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Karen Allendoerfer

Fantasia on Greensleeves

December 29, 2006 at 4:01 PM

So, my first public performance on violin in approximately 7 years is done, and it went fine. I played on Christmas Eve morning, not evening, and that service wasn't that well attended--only about 50 people, at most. But a number of friends were there and the most fun part was sharing stories before and afterwards.

The church music director's daughter was playing cello for another part of the service and it was great to get to know her. My hands got really cold right before the service started--something that's happened to me many times before--and she loaned me her gloves. She said to wear them until the offertory, when I was playing. I did, and it helped a lot. It wasn't just the actual hand-warming effect of the gloves, which was good in itself, but also the fact of having someone care and be able to offer useful practical assistance. I felt supported and cared for even when I took the gloves off to play.

My husband recorded most of the performance but it's from a weird angle, basically from the back, because of where he was sitting. Watching myself from that angle, what I noticed most was how I was motioning the beat with my entire body. I think I did that more than would have been ideal. I'd been having some trouble keeping the beat with the pianist during rehearsal so I think this was some kind of response to that problem. We ended up doing fine with keeping the beat and keeping together during the performance, but I think I looked like I was gyrating too much. The other obvious mistake, to me, was a long note where I ran out of bow. That happened to me sometimes when I was practicing and I knew it might be a problem, and then it was. It didn't occur to me until afterwards that maybe I should have just changed bow while the piano had a moving part--that wouldn't have been so bad. As it was, I don't think anyone in the audience, other than I, was particularly bothered by it.

One woman in the congregation came up to me afterwards and said that her late husband, a documentary filmmaker during World War II, had used "Fantasia on Greensleeves" as background music to part of one of his films. She said that he had been very attached to all the music he used in his films and had owned records to all of it and played it repeatedly. As a result she came to associate that piece with him, and she thanked me for bringing that part of him back to her.

Another friend, also a mother, and a minister by profession, mused on how much easier it was not to be nervous in front of an audience after you've had kids. She's right.

And another woman mentioned that she'd studied viola for a while as a child but her teacher forced her to give up the viola and play violin instead, and she hadn't liked that as well and now she played neither. Scratch the surface of another violinist to find a violist . . .

I'm looking forward to playing viola in March for the same audience!

From Richard Hellinger
Posted on December 30, 2006 at 7:45 AM
I always think it is most rewarding if you can just touch at least one person in the audience. And you certainly did that!
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 30, 2006 at 7:44 AM
Playing in a church is great because you're guaranteed a supportive audience. I have played in my own church and in the church where my orchestra practices. We get the rehearsal space for free, and, in return, we provide musical services for the church. The people there are very warm and appreciative. I'm glad you had such a good experience. We communicate so much of what's really important to ourselves and others with our music.
From jennifer steinfeldt warren
Posted on December 30, 2006 at 6:53 PM
I'm so glad that you felt supported before you had to play. One little thing like a musician offering you her can be a big thing.

COngratulations whith going through with this. I know it was tough at times along the way. Proud of ya'!

Jennifer Warren

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