Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cello fiddling fun

One of our two fiddle performances today was canceled due to rain. First it was moved from 10 am to 7:30 am, so most people were quite relieved that it was canceled. Who would want to listen to fiddle music at 7:30 am?, you might ask?

This was an overnight cancer walk, a fundraiser in which participant teams camp out around a high school track and walk all day and night, in shifts. I have participated in the past as a camper/walker, and any music, any time of day is good. Well, not in the middle of the night, when, if it isn't raining, the stars are company enough.

The second performance was at 11:30 am and went until 1 pm, with a break in the middle. It was an environmental fair with Americorps volunteers providing information about coastal ecology, who whooped and danced as we played. The acoustics in the big barn at the Fairgrounds were not very good, and sometimes I couldn't even tell what tune we were playing, but it was fun. There were 13 of us, five fiddlers and others playing mandolin, banjo, tin whistle, dobro, guitar, bodhran, and, of course, me on cello.

The portable chair worked out great. I didn't feel odd being the only one sitting, and was shortly joined by a mandolin player who explained that he had recently had two knee surgeries. (The only chairs available were big white plastic lawn chairs with arms, totally unsuitable for cello-playing, so I was glad to have my own portable chair.)

I played melody on only one or two tunes. The rest of the time, I was happy to improvise backup, somewhat like a string bass, sometimes pizz., sometimes arco. I will try to memorize a few more tunes before our big concert on June 9, but on the whole, the backup is fun too, and provides something different.

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