Over the weekend, I played my first concert in the percussion section of the local symphony. This symphony has grown significantly in the past few years, gaining sponsors, so that now it qualifies as semi-professional. My very musical family has been closely involved with this group for several years now–through a few name changes and conductor changes. My brother plays trumpet, and his wife plays oboe. My sister is the secretary to the conductor, and her husband plays clarinet.
My sister called me a few weeks ago, asking if I would be willing to join the group for a couple of songs in an upcoming concert. I thought she’d ask me to play one of my main instruments (piano or clarinet.) Instead, she said they really needed people to fill out the percussion section. I was asked to play, not because I have special skills, but because I can read music and count rhythms pretty well, and the recruiting secretary knew she could get me to do it. With the offer of some financial compensation for my efforts, I was officially recruited. So, I practiced up to play the glockenspiel and crash cymbals on two songs.
I was very nervous the night of the concert. It didn’t occur to me until about an hour before the concert how obvious it would be with the cymbals if I made a mistake. (Clarinet mistakes are much less noticeable.) Also, I started to see several people I knew in the audience. Several of my students were there, waving excitedly when they saw me on stage. Also, while I have lived away for a while, it is a small town, so I still know lots of people here, and they know me. The pressure was on. I somehow survived, managing to play at all the right times, though. It was great fun, and it was a highly complimented performance. The comments made me laugh. “I didn’t know you played the cymbals,” several people commented. “It sounded great.” I thanked them, thinking to myself, “If you only knew.”
During the concert, my parents and sister watched my brother’s kids. After the concert, my sister told me my niece’s reaction to my playing. For the first song, I played the crash cymbals for the first couple minutes of the song, then set them down to switch to the glockenspiel. When I set them down, my niece (who is 3 and 1/2 ) turned very matter-of-factly to my sister and said, “She got tired.”
In other news, our area was hit with another round of treacherous weather. This time, it was an ice storm. A half-inch coating of ice on the roads on Sunday morning caused church to be cancelled. My house didn’t have power for a while on Sunday morning, either, so it was a good thing for me that I didn’t have to get ready for church by candlelight. By early afternoon, the ice had melted. Since, I had slept in, I didn’t needed my nap as desperately as I do on most Sunday afternoons, so I decided to get my grocery shopping done. At the store, I saw several people from church doing the same thing. We joked about having an impromptu service in the aisles of the store. When I got home, I realized that I had been wearing my slippers the whole time. The do have hard soles on them, but they are fluffy and not meant to be worn in public. Oh well.
I haven’t decided if the church crowd simply didn’t notice my attire, or if they were too polite to say anything. The moral of the story: If you live in a small town, you are bound to run into at least a few people you know every time you leave your house, so you should always be careful to be fully dressed (including shoes) when you leave the house.