A couple of years ago, my cousin, Dan, one of the members of the Allinger Community Theater in Montpelier, Idaho, invited me to give a recital at the Oregon Trail Center. Accompanied by pianist Tawna Love, I made the trek to Southeastern Idaho in the middle of January, timing it so perfectly that it snowed on the days before and after our journey, but not during.
I was pleasantly surprised when Dan contacted me two months ago to see if I would be able to come back (and in Autumn, too, which will make the drive ever so pleasant)! Apparently, someone else on the committee remembered my performance, and asked him to ask me to come back, which was very flattering. Tawna and I decided to present our Spanish music program that we have been wanting to do for some time.
There have been a lot of hitches along the way. Now that we're in the final stretch before the recital, things are starting to come together.
Our program consisted of some Piano Trios (violin, cello, piano), and our cellist was unable to join us. Nor were any of the other local cellists I knew. Not only did we need a good cellist, we needed an experienced teacher who could give a master class. One of my favorite roommates from college was a cellist, and I decided to ask her, even though she lives six hours away. To my great pleasure, she accepted the gig!
Another one of the obstacles has been the sheer difficulty of the program. It requires not only formidable technical facility, it requires stamina. Stamina is something I have been struggling to regain ever since I got sick a year and a half ago. Just when I was starting to build a little of it, I got slammed with a virus last week that knocked me out for four days. Fortunately, I got better!
Trying to practice while being a mother of three has also been challenging, to say the least. I've discovered that the best time of day for me to practice is in the late morning--once I've finally awoken, and just before I'm ready to go back down for an afternoon nap--and that sort of hits my kids' best time of day, too. I've hired babysitters, lost babysitters to school, hired older babysitters only to lose them to better jobs, and so on. Though Mary Poppins hasn't come out of the sky to solve my scheduling problems, I've managed to find an hour here and there to work on my program, without completely neglecting my children.
Finally, Tawna's family is in the middle of a health crisis, one in which there is no way of knowing how or when it will be resolved. And speaking of Tawna, did I mention that she is in her third semester of grad school? And that she is also a mother of three? I honestly don't know how she does it. She is truly amazing!
I've had to ask myself why I want to perform, when sometimes it seems like the effort is simply too overwhelming. When people can listen to any number of violinists who are more accomplished than me just by turning on a switch, why would they want to take the time to hear me? And the answers I've come up with are these: That first of all, I love this music, and I love challenging myself to perform it. And secondly, while I might not be the best violinist in the world, I am the best that some will ever hear live. Maybe after my concert, some who would not have heard of Sarasate (or de Falla, or Piazzolla) before will go home and google those composers to learn more. Maybe they will go to itunes and buy some recordings. Maybe they'll want to practice a little more, or sign up their child for music lessons. And maybe when I'm too old to play anymore, I'll go listen to them.
Thanks, Dan! And thank you, Montpelier, for giving us this opportunity!