Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Young Musician

Ciel (left) and a friend
The beautiful teenager across the street, Ciel, is having the time of her life.  Currently she is on a bus trip to Nashville with the high school music department.  I've been following her daily facebook posts and pictures from the road, and let me tell you, she is having some fabulous opportunities.

This girl is quite the artist.  Not only does she sing, she also plays an instrument, and is a serious ballerina, too.  And, along with being good at what she does, all the photos easily convey that she loves every minute of what she is doing.

And so I love watching her.

Recently she sent this message from the road:  "So yesterday I got the chance to sing on the Grand Ole Opry stage on the sacred circle... I was so nervous and happy that I started to tear up... My biggest dream just came true!"

Congratulations, Ciel!

I'm often reminded of my own early involvement in music.  I spent many years learning to play the piano and participating in middle school and high school music groups.  I also had a few opportunities to sing with and accompany the county chorus.  Later I accompanied soloists and the church choir for special events.

Oddly enough, what I really remember most about those performance years, are the very earliest of my recitals.

My piano teacher had a recital every three months and she held them in the tiny piano studio in her home.  We were required to memorize our pieces, and we were taught how to introduce ourselves to the other performers properly.  Only students of hers were in the audience, no parents or families.

For example, Mrs. Homan would say "next - Jill Sturgis."  That was my cue to get up, stand before the group, and say "I will be performing 'Dancing Elves' by Munson."  At the end of the performance while the others were applauding, we were required to take a bow.

God help us if we got stuck and forgot our music.  Although that never happened to me, I did watch as others sweated their way through some terribly botched pieces.

Program from one of my early public recitals
At the end of these little recitals, Mrs. Homan would disappear into a side door, and re-enter carrying a tray of ice cream cups (chocolate and vanilla) with little wooden "spoons" and a basket of pretzels.  We would eat in silence (mostly) then leave when we could see our parents drive up out front.

I was always glad when those recitals were over.  By then I was sick to death of the piece I had worked on so hard and long for that performance.  Plus, each of those recitals wiped out a perfectly good Saturday afternoon.

In my ongoing efforts at decluttering my home, I recently came across several of the programs from my earliest days as a little musician.

The one you see at the left was perhaps the first recital in which I performed that was held in a public auditorium.  Guests and families were invited.  It was a dress up affair, as I remember.

To this day, I can still play parts of Beethoven's Fur Elise.

Another program I found was from a Piano Festival held in the Albright College Field House, in Reading, Pennsylvania.  In this festival there were 26 pianos, arranged in a pattern so that two pianists at every piano could all see the conductor in the front.

26 pianos x 4 hands on each = massive sound

All that sound required a huge venue, and so the field house at that college selected for the festival.

Funny thing, my father had graduated from college there, and years later I was the graduation speaker at my own high graduation in that very same space.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I played in the group that performed J. F. Harrison's "Wild West Suite:  On The Lone Prairie, The Indians Meet for War, and Square Dance."

I unearthed a number of other ancient momentos, but I'll save them for another post.

In the meantime, Ciel, you keep enjoying yourself down there in Nashville and making lots of good memories.

Someday you may be blogging about them.


  1. I remember those concerts well, I even look at the videos once in a great while:)

  2. That sounds a bit like my piano recitals as a child. Except that parents were in the audience....*sigh*