Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fiddling through the Earthquake

As the members of the fiddle group (2 fiddles, guitar, tin whistle, bodhran, cello) readied ourselves to play at 2 PM on Tuesday, outside in the ArtMarket, the Washington DC-based earthquake struck the town. I wish I could say that the earth moved when we started to play, but, honestly, none of us felt a thing.

We were probably too engrosed in our first "public" concert. We had performed twice before, both for large family parties hosted by the leader of our group, but this was the first time we were out in public. It wasn't really a concert--there were no chairs set up for people to sit down and listen, but our music was amplified and sent throughout the art fair, so everyone could hear. There is a grassy area in front of the musicians so that people could sit there (some did), but music at the fair is mostly background music.

We had prepared (to varying degrees) lots of music for this 2 and a half hour concert, and for the most part it went well. I probably made a mistake in every tune though. Some more than others. Some because I knew the "hard part" was coming up and froze, some because I was thinking, "This is going well...."

Our list of music did not last the full 2 and a half hours, and when we started at the top of the list again, I felt I was playing better, more relaxed, less inclined to give in to the "hard parts." A friend in the group assured me that no one heard my mistakes. Maybe. But I knew they were there.

Initially we got no response from the audience. No applause, no one looking and smiling, no one coming over to say something nice, as had happened the previous week with the classical group. Then, midway through, people started show some interest (in part families and friends of the players). But a man asked if he could videotape us ("My mother would love this!"), promising he would not put it on YouTube. We said sure, and played our best "Over the Waterfall" for him. I noticed someone else videotaping too. I tried to look pleasant, as I am frequently scowling in photos of my playing the cello.

All in all, it was fun and the weather was gorgeous. I am looking forward to the next time, hoping to weed out a few more errors.

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