Sunday, July 12, 2009

Arts Alive

A belated update on a couple of June concerts. I played cello and flute with the flute choir on a Saturday, three weeks ago. All went reasonably well, though I was thrown off balance when a piece we had been playing in 4 was counted off in 2, and went along faster than we had previously played it.

We had six flutists and me, playing mostly cello, sometimes flute.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, rare in these parts in June, and we had a great time. I spent most of the rest of the day listening to other performers.

On Sunday, it was overcast. I performed with the fiddlers in the morning, though did not get a photo. Playing with the fiddlers is always fun, in part because there is no sheet music, and always, for me, a bit intimidating, for the same reason, because there is no sheet music. People do not necessarily play the same versions of each tune, so there is a certain freedom, and, as the sole cellist, I can choose to play melody (if I know it) or some form of accompaniment.

After the fiddlers, my friend Laura and I hosted an instrument petting zoo, giving kids the opportunity to try out violins, violas, and a cello. One of the moms told us that her daughter had her first encounter with a cello at an instrument petting zoo three years earlier, and had been taking cello lessons ever since. It is always nice to hear that these events have some impact.

Getting ready for the chamber concert.

After the petting zoo, Laura and I joined Marv and Joyce to play chamber music. By this time it was sprinkling. Laura and Marvin, on violins, and Joyce, on keyboard began the concert with a trio:
Laura and Avis.

Then I joined them for Pieces en Trio by Marin Marais (1656-1728).

The Marais suite is easy and has a good cello part, as Marais was a viola da gamba player. It is also in the key of C, mostly first position, and the cello part doubles the keyboard left hand. The only problem was the way the keyboard was miked. Unless the speakers were turned toward us, we could not hear the keyboard. And if the speakers were turned toward us, the audience couldn't hear the keyboard.

So since the audience, by this time, because of the increasingly heavy rain, consisted mainly of our spouses, we opted to turn the speakers toward ourselves. Even so, the keyboard played as a harpsichord, when amplified, takes on the sound of breaking dishes, at least to me, and it was difficult to be sure I was always with the keyboardist.

We had two hours of music planned, but, after a piece by Marv and Joyce, we called it quits and headed home, through the raindrops. It might have been better with sunshine and an audience, but I enjoyed it nevetheless.