Busy evening: performing at Phipps followed by rehearsal for another gig!

Tonight I left my office and walked across Flagstaff Hill to Phipps Conservatory to play some music with four other recorder players.

Phipps in evening from Flagstaff Hill

At Phipps

Sorry, no photos or videos of me playing, because I didn’t want to bother or confuse any Phipps visitors on how to use my camera! I did take a photo of the rest of us playing a piece that I did not participate in:

Recorder quartet playing Deck the Halls

We played for about an hour and a half. It was a slow Monday night at Phipps, with not many people around. On average there may have been up to ten people standing or sitting around somewhere in sight, in addition to people roaming around. A good number of young children seemed to come and go, sometimes making noises. That was OK; it was nice to see them around enjoying our playing.

I was happy to finally have the opportunity to play recorder for an audience, after nine months on the instrument. Since the setting was so informal, and with so few people, I did not feel very anxious, and treated the experience as similar to rehearsal, except for a desire to sound as good as I knew how.

Rehearsal for Holiday Ball

After the Phipps gig, I rushed to walk half a mile back to my car to drive over to the first rehearsal for the Holiday Ball. I arrived an hour and fifteen minutes late, with forty-five minutes left. There, I switched to flute.

It was a large group of people, maybe twenty, with all kinds of instruments: accordions, violins, flutes, clarinet, ukuleles, harmonica, tambura, and others I didn’t even see (since I arrived late and sat in the back and side).

I had only started looking at the music a day or two ago, and sight read some of it at home with Abby. More than half the music is manageable for me now, but I hadn’t realized that the jigs go at breakneck speed. I may need to sit out of those, because I cannot play all the notes on either recorder or flute at this time. In any case, at least I have a concrete challenge to work on for the rest of the week before the second (and final) rehearsal on Sunday!

I did try to play recorder for some of the pieces, but I think my intuition was correct: the recorder gets drowned out in the sea of more powerful instruments. But I will bring my recorders to the next rehearsal anyway, in case some of the pieces I missed this time (because of arriving late) would work acoustically and stylistically with a soprano or alto recorder.

(Update of 2011-12-16)

I reported on playing at the Holiday Ball.


I’m excited to have played recorder at Phipps, and I’m excited about the prospect of another new musical experience: playing for dancers at the upcoming Holiday Ball. I remember many times in the past decade wondering about being on the other side of the dance floor, since I used to do a lot of dancing (ballroom, swing, tango, salsa).

(Update of 2012-05-14)

Half a year later, I did start playing music regularly for dancers.

(Update of 2012-12-09)

A report on performing again at Phipps the following year, 2012.

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