Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oboe Debut!

Remember when I was debating whether or not to play publicly with my chamber group of beginner musicians?

Well, I missed that first opportunity because of my call schedule, but tonight's the night. Tonight we've invited family and close friends to hear us play

Symphony #18 in F major K. 130, First Movement, by Mozart;
Aase's Death and Anitra's Dance by Grieg; and the
Agrippina Overture by Handel

Our little chamber orchestra has stopped calling our more "public" playing events "concerts." We now call them "open rehearsals," because we are soooooo un-rehearsed, and such relative beginners at our instruments, that it's not unusual for us to have to stop in the middle of a piece and start over from a particular measure.

By musician standards, we are pretty darn bad. But we are all having a BLAST - so, so what if we're the WWO, the World's Worst Orchestra? At least we're participating, learning, and having a wonderful time together! :)


(Photo credit: "Cocktail by Candlelight" by Mike Gifford)

Well, I did it! I played the oboe in a group in front of other people, and I'm still alive!

Usually on performance days I have the show on my mind all day, not in the foreground but rather as a backdrop to my thoughts and activities as I go about doing ordinary things like fixing lunch and running errands. And usually I am nervous...just nervous enough to be a little uncomfortable all day long. But today I felt pretty much fine until right before the appointed time. In fact, I was excited, and I had the music playing in my head off and on in little snatches. Once I got to the auditorium and started warming up with the others, and playing around on Perelandra (my oboe), even the nerves calmed down some. My cheering section consisted of my husband, children, father-in-law, and oboe teacher, who also instructs the group's principal oboist (he has visited here as fellowkyokostudent - and he played wonderfully tonight).

How do "real" musicians, dancers, and actors feel on the morning or afternoon before they have to go on stage? Does it become routine, just another day on the job, or is there always a little undercurrent of excitement there? Does everyone have special rituals or superstitions - a "lucky" or "unlucky" article of clothing, a way of packing up an instrument? There's a doctor at St. Boonie's who refuses to go into O.R. #9 because he feels it's "The Room of Doom..."

I have to thank Anali for posting a recipe for "Obama Celebration Cake." I made it today for the after-party, substituting zucchini for the bananas and Grand Marnier liqueur for the Southern comfort. It came out super-moist and made for a festive end to a happy evening. Next time I think I'll add even more chocolate...


rlbates said...

Good for you T!

Michael Leddy said...

As a musician who's mostly in the closet, it took me a long time to realize that playing for people is not a test. As a student of mine added, it's a confirmation. Seems so obvious, but it took me so long to realize! The more you play for people, the funner it gets.

Elaine Fine said...

I played a concert last night with a harpist who was so excited back stage that she jumped up and down. Eventually performing becomes something you really look forward to because it is a "playthrough" that somehow really matters.

I used to spend my pre-performance days trying to get rid of excess energy. I remember even sewing a dress or something on the day of a recital back in my flute days. Now I make sure to get my "routine" of scales and exercises in, make sure I know what to expect in tricky passages, connect emotionally with the people I'm playing with before the performance, and try to spend the performance enjoying myself as much as possible.

I wished that the Ravel Introduction and Allegro that I played last night with my bouncing harpist friend would never end. I just can't wait for the next time I get to play with her.

By the way, the guy who made the comment above my comment is my husband!

Thanks for the Obama victory cake. I have to make one (or two) of those.

T. said...

Thanks, everybody!

And to Michael and Elaine - you guys are an amazing, talented couple! I found Orange Crate Art (Michael's blog) through Musical Assumptions (Elaine's blog) and absolutely love both!

Anali's cake is lactose-free and vegetarian, and she was wondering if eliminating the eggs would make it vegan...It seems to work nicely with either bananas or zucchini. Even my meat-and-potatoes husband enjoyed it, saying, "Wow, it's even yummier the next day!" :)

Lisa Johnson said...

Congratulations on your performance! And your cake looks beautiful! Love the adaptation!