Monday, June 15, 2009

Waltzing Frenzy!

Our big waltz event was last night. Our little band (4 fiddles, guitar, cello, drum, and tin whistle) played five waltzes and kept the dance floor crowded (until another band took over for the contradances). It was somewhat terrifying, but we all noticed that it was easier to play, and we played better, when there were people happily moving to the music.

I took this photo from the stage, during a tin whistle guitar solo. Beyond the dancers are tables; there were about 200 people, and they all loved to dance. It was a wonderful first performance for our group, a great alternative to either being background music or a concert performance, with all eyes on us. At the dance, we knew people were listening--they were twirling about--but we were not the focus of attention.

These were fast fiddle waltzes, not "slow dances," though still relatively slow for fiddle music. I did bring my sheet music, but I did try to play without looking at it. Sometimes, I completely forgot what note was next, but often I it was easier to just go with the flow, without the music.

The party celebrated the 88th birthday of the father of our tin whistle player. An enthusiastic contra-dancer and all-around good person, he was awe-inspiring, and I was happy to be part of the celebration.

A table centerpiece.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


The fiddle performance is next Saturday, and, while I can play the tunes, I still do not have them reliably memorized enough to play them without the music though. I am fine alone--but sometimes fall apart when playing with the others. And we added two tunes, making a total of 6. One is Ashokan Farewell, which I can play from memory (and I am playing the melody in this one, not a harmony part), but I am not familiar enough with the other new one, Midnight on the Water, to even attempt memorizing it in a week.

So, I will play with sheet music. All the others will play from memory. In my defense, the cello parts are harder than the fiddle parts, which are all played in first position, and the fiddlers are all playing melody parts. I am disappointed to have to use sheet music, but my practice time has been so limited that I am quite happy to be playing at all!