four hands

Daniel and Anya and my dad and I just spent a week in Kansas so I could rehearse and perform a 4-hand recital with my college teacher, Karen. It was, well, honestly, it was great. The whole experience was incredibly fulfilling and affirming and just plain fun.

Before I go on about that, however, let me just say that there is absolutely no way I could have done this gig without the gracious hospitality and generosity of my MIL and FIL, who let us invade their home and eat their food and spread toys all over their living room. And also my dad, who drove to Madison from Kentucky, then to Kansas and back with me and the kids, just so I wouldn't have to do the trip on my own. I think I could have managed, but those 700 miles between here and central Kansas were a lot easier to tolerate with another "gohm-up" (as Daniel says) along. The grandparents spent a lot of time babysitting while I was in rehearsals, and I know it must have been exhausting as well as rewarding (I'm rather proud that it takes 2-3 adults to do what I do every day by myself!) Steph was enormously helpful as well, spending a whole afternoon with my dad and the kids to give my in-laws a break, and she also turned pages at the performance. I understand this caused her much anxiety, but she did just fine. Plus, I thanked her with yarn to ease her trepidation.

There's something reassuring about playing with a musician you know well. Karen, my co-pianist this past weekend, was my teacher for four years. I've certainly come a long way as a pianist and as a musician since I graduated from college, but she transformed my playing, gave me confidence, and prepared me for graduate school as well as anybody could have. As her student, I heard her play a LOT, and I did a fair amount of page-turning for her, since she was - and still is - in great demand in the area as an accompanist. She's one of those pianists who does everything well, and she's very consistent. So even though I showed up 6 days before our concert with two kids and a pile of music we'd never played together before, I knew we would be just fine. And we were. Rehearsing with her didn't feel like playing with my teacher; it felt like playing with my colleague. We exchanged ideas, gave each other suggestions, gossiped a little, and made a lot of progress in a short time.

There was a surprisingly good turnout for the program. The community is usually very supportive of musical events, so we were expecting a lot of people, but the actual number exceeded our expectations. The best part about the audience, though, was that Daniel and Anya saw almost the whole thing! I didn't hear any squawking or fussing while we were playing, so I just assumed they'd had to leave at the beginning, but as it turned out, they stayed quiet most of the time. Daniel was absent for a bit in the middle while his poor grandma had to change not one but two poopy pull-ups in a row, and Anya got a little whiny during the last piece, but they were attentive for the most part.

The concert itself went without a hitch, with one major exception: it wasn't recorded. I'm not sure who dropped the ball there, but by the time we realized no one was there to record, there was nothing we could do about it. This was especially disappointing, since my mom and brother and husband weren't there for their own various reasons.

It's good to be home, though. We've hardly seen Stuart for the past three weeks (he had to travel to Montana for his grandma's funeral the week between our trips to Kentucky and Kansas), and 700 miles is a long time to be on the road.


Anonymous said…
I just thought of this -- you turned pgs when Stephanie played at my dad's funeral in 1998. Bittersweet memories.
-Sarah in Topeka
Animal said…
Glad you had a great performance! (And that Steph, with her "freakishly long arms," didn't knock your music into your lap!)

Andre said…
This is what's it's all about! Congratulations Suze!

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