Monday, October 08, 2007


Cellocracy scores!

Saturday's "Evening of Classics" concert was sold out; the church was filled to overflowing - even the lobby was filled with people watching and trying to listen through the open doors. This was probably the most successful fund-raiser for the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, yet. I was glad to do my small part.

The ambitious program included fifteen different performances. First our Central Peninsula Youth and Community Orchestra played "Palladio" (the tune from that diamond commercial). We'd been working on this piece for over a year; and Saturday night was my best effort yet! My teacher had shown me a new bowing technique for this piece earlier that week and by Saturday I'd mastered it enough to see a major improvement.

After a brief interlude in the green room (where I had to retune my g-string) Cellocracy returned to the stage for our debut. It was pretty scary stepping out to face that large crowd, but coming off our earlier performance with our orchestra we were still riding on the crest, so we quickly smiled at one another for courage and plunged in.

Our three baroque dances were simple enough, taking just less than four minutes to play through them all. I had the top part for the first dance, and I stumbled slightly on the first few measures - that caused me to tense up momentarily and I broke out into a sweat across my forehead (of all places). But by the third or fourth measure we found our footing and glided smoothly through the rest of that piece and easily played the other two. Not bad, not bad at all. The crowd liked it well enough, but I have little memory of any applause or anything. I was just relieved to have survived it intact and could only think about getting off that stage.

The rest of the evening was a rare treat of top-notch performances, notably by Emily Grossman, Erin Southwick, Kent Peterson, Molly Watkins, and Natasha Vaissenberg. And of course, Maria Allison. Maria is our artist extraordinaire, who is the life-force behind the local music scene. She accompanies most of the soloists, coaches most of the groups (thanks from Cellocracy, Maria), and organizes and coordinates all of these performances. Besides playing the piano, she fills in with our orchestra on violin and plays viola in the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra and the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra. A remarkable person.

Sunday morning, I took out my cello and easily played those three dances - flawlessly - from memory. Then I decided to take a day off from that nagging metronome and I just played my Suzuki repertoire at whatever speed felt right. It was a good way to end the week.

Today, our orchestra began to work on a half dozen new pieces. Many of these use second and fourth position shifts... most are doable, with some effort.

My bow trials ended abruptly this evening. After a lot of thought, I had more or less settled on one of the three. It plays nicely and sounds really good - clean and crisp. But I was using it at our rehearsal tonight and I noticed a small crack in the white plastic face at the tip, next to the hole where the hair comes out. I also saw a slight twist up at the tip when looking down the hair from the frog end.

I also got to try out one of the new Coda Diamonds (one of our trioists is also test driving several bows). It was OK, but it didn't play as good as one of her Coda Classics, IMHO.

Anyway, I've decided to send all three of mine back tomorrow. I'll talk to Ellen to see if she has anything else.

HOw wonderful! And you got to play Palladio - i'm desperate to get a chance to play that as I love it ! Thinking I might buy it and then persuade some unsuspecting musicians at ELLSO summer school to attempt to play it! Sounds like you had a great time ! Yippeee that's what i'ts all about after all! : )
A very enjoyable post. Thank you. Sorry about the bow trial,though.
Congratulations on a great performance, and on being part of such a successful fundraiser! You must be feeling great!

Hope you find a great bow soon. Sometimes it takes a while.
What a fantastic experience. Congratulations! These are the things that make all the time and effort worthwhile.

Caveat from the voice of experience: don't mop a sweaty brow with fingers of left hand; shifting will come to an abrubt halt. :)
Congratulations! I'm glad Cellocracy ruled the evening. Good luck with the bow hunt. I tried out 12 bows before finding the bow I have now.
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