Friday, January 7, 2022

Holiday Sounds

Oh, what a night!  

Late December back in '21. 

All were gathered, we had so much fun!  

What an evening, what a night!  

Last Monday evening, I invited all my students, young and old, to share in a Holiday Piano Party.  Twelve pianists performed holiday music and more, to the absolute joy of all in attendance.  We had Chopin, we had Mozart, we had Handel and Bach, all to wish us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

These past 22 months have limited public performance.  I was thrilled to obtain permission at the local church to host this event.  We were all masked, of course, which made announcements a bit muted and awkward.  But the masks could not hinder the beautiful music each participant performed.  They worked hard to master their respective pieces, and to get over the anxiety of playing for others.  I was so proud of everyone!

No formal program was intended, and we chose names out of a hat for performance order.  Took a bit of the edge off, I think.  My youngest student got to open the program.  He has been taking lessons with me a mere 4 weeks, and delighted his audience with a 5-finger version of Jingle Bells, followed by an anime soundtrack he taught himself by ear.  Kudos, Samuel, for a job well done.

Ha, I just realized, anime opened and closed the program.  Josie pulled off a rip-roaring version of Fukashige a la Carte, worthy of the silver screen.  

In between these 2 bookends, we heard variations on Jingle Bells, a Chopin Prelude, Bach's Jesu, Joy of man's Desiring, Mozart's Rondo a la Turca,  and so much more.  I was thrilled to welcome back a student from 2 years ago to play the Chopin; Eleanor now attends Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.  She even provided some Christmas tunes to quiet and focus the audience as we awaited the start of the program.  Anda and Myra played a Jingle Bells duet; this was their first time paying together, and after a rocky start, they did great listening to each other and staying together.  Anda used this audience to prepare her for a Carnegie Hall debut to be held in April 2022.  You read that right: Anda placed second in her age group in the Elite International Music Competition in early December, earning her a place on the recital stage at Carnegie Hall this spring.

The program lasted about an hour, followed by cookies and drinks, and a surprise violin performance by Will, the brother of 2 of my piano students.  The acoustics at All Saints truly enhanced his playing.  We were all thrilled that he brought his violin!

As I stated at the beginning of this post, performance opportunities have been limited in this time of Covid.  We held lessons online for 16 months, and occasionally still rely on Zoom to get together when necessary.  Being able to gather together and make music together is great therapy for all: the kids learn stage presence; the parents beam with pride; adult students overcome performance jitters.  We all hope the Omicron variant will not hinder future performance events, but at least we got this chance to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

May 2022 be kinder, gentler. May we continue to make music to share.