Monday, November 5, 2012

The Coffee Shop Recital 2012

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. ~Johann Sebastian Bach

My daughter's piano teacher likes to have a casual, coffee shop recital in autumn. The problem has been that the local independent coffee shops have gone out of business in as little as two years or even a few months. Actually, there had not been any around for the last few years. However, this year there is a large coffee shop called The Copper Coin in the heart of historical Woodstock near the remodeled train station on the ground floor of a four story building. This building has the look of an updated factory building, but in fact is a new build with shops on the ground floor and apartments having a modified loft style on the three upper stories. The area has become a chic kind of place.

The thing about a coffee shop is that people are moving around, talking, and it is loud when filled with people. The young performers get the experience of what it is like to play in this environment that is similar to performing in a band. It is a very good contrast to the formal recital in the spring where everything is staged with a quiet, attentive audience. This forum also made it difficult to get a good video and the angle of the piano was not good for stills either.

I did not do the programs this time, so imagine my surprise when I arrived to find my daughter was the chosen to be the first to play a piece called "Equinox." She would play "It is Well with My Soul" in the second half of the program. The first, which she probably could have done blindfolded, was done well...until--yeah, she messed up had difficulty finding a place to get back into it hitting more wrong notes. (Those few seconds seem so long to a mother praying.) She did finally find her place and ended it well. The second song was done flawlessly. I think she was just more nervous being first.

Now that I have taken all the suspense out, let me explain what happened on the other side of things. First, my daughter had left her music at church...twice! She took it with her the Sunday she played "It is Well with My Soul" two weeks ago and then she forgot to get it the next Sunday, being distracted with thoughts of pizza, birthday cake, and inflatables (see my last post). My husband having church keys and security code, but a heavy work schedule finally was able to get the music on Wednesday night so she would have it on her last lesson with Miss Trudy before the recital.

At that lesson, Miss Trudy asked me if I could do the introductions of the students and the songs at the recital as she still had a cough and so did another person she has used in the past. I turned toward my daughter, directly looked her in the eye, and said "This is what happens when you do praise and worship. People then think you can do anything." I was half joking. You see, people just never have thought of me as an on-stage kind of person, even though I used to sing in choirs, I played in a band when I was a teen for two years, I acted in high school and in churches, and I have given lectures and seminars for a few years.

I was worried about doing this without having the programs to go through a few days in advance, because I knew that there were a few students with highly unique names, not necessarily in spelling but in pronunciation, and these are my weaknesses: remembering names and pronouncing them correctly. I felt I would be ill-prepared. In addition, I just do not do last minute memorization well. (There it goes off in my mind again: my weakness, His strength!) Additionally, one family is from Nigeria with a last name that probably is very common there, but even Miss Trudy did not know how to pronounce it. In the formal recitals, names are not announced so she had been dodging that bullet for the last two years she has been teaching this student.

We had to race home after church to let out the dog and find the flier for the recital with the address of the place, which I just could not find so I had to call Trudy. We grabbed a bite to eat at the closest Arby's and ate in the car. Then we entered the address in the GPS....

Let me just say that GPS is wonderful technology...when it actually takes you to the address you intended. However, it is not always accurate and, of course, this was one of those times! Another call to Trudy, who is beginning to sound a bit stressed as she normally does just before a recital. We were just a mile south of where we needed to be so we showed up just minutes later and early enough to settle down and go over every student's name and song title...except that one family. I would talk to them and work on the pronunciation, which I would forget and ask again just before the child played. (Did I say I have difficulty with names?)

I did pretty well with the introductions considering one family with two students did not show up and I did not know that in advance. It was necessary on the fly to change the order of other two students because one parent was not yet present and another had a flight to catch. Another had dropped one of her pieces and I mistakenly announced even though I knew not to do so. Oh, and on the spot I was asked to turn pages for a duet in which Miss Trudy was playing with an older student. I have seen page turning disasters, so my first thoughts were, "No, please don't make me! Please, please, find someone else." I could not voice my refusal though, not in front of all those people, but...I may never be asked to turn pages again...probably. Thankfully, the unattached page just slipped down some and I recovered the paper before it fell onto the keyboard. Yeah, and that was only the first page! I had two more to go. It did not go a bad as I feared, but not as good as I hoped either.

We had a ten minute intermission and we reminded everyone that the tip jars were for the students. Once my daughter made over $7, but it is usually $3 to $6 once it is divided evenly among the students. I usually am a bit more tired on Sundays when I with just doing praise and worship so the recital was getting to me by the time we took a break. My voice was cracking also, but it was better after drinking some tea and the crowd thinned out so I did not have to talk so loudly.

The Princess feel asleep on the hour drive home and I read a book until it was too dark. With the time change, it now gets dark so much earlier. I probably would have done better to take a nap myself. None of us was hungry, so we had an apple and popcorn while watching "The Christmas Bunny" on Netflix.

~ My Lord, thank you for Your strength in my weaknesses. Thank you for my gifted daughter and may she also use her talents and her weaknesses in for Your Glory! ~


  1. lol You are just beginning as I'm getting ready to let the girl fly solo. Look forward to some exhausting years! ♥

    1. Until just the last few weeks, I had been going through an exhausting year that heightened with the additional church responsibilities. Honestly, giving up the horse barn has definitely freed up some time and I feel so much less rushed than I had been for the last few months. It has really allowed me to focus on my husband, child, home, church, and Lord with a calmer spirit. I am looking forward to focusing more on the Princess' musical and artistic pursuits.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.