Sunday, May 18, 2008


Playing in a crowd

It was quite a scene in the lobby last night at the dance studio recital - I'd estimate at least 700 to 800 people people showed up!! (three times the number at a typical concert - and more than five times the turnout for the last KPO concert a month ago). The "entertainment" was relegated to the far back corner of the lobby; so unless you wandered by on the way to the restrooms it was unlikely in that mob that you'd have even noticed us, much less heard our music. But no matter. It was interesting to say the least.

Half an hour before showtime there were a couple hundred people milling around in the lobby waiting for the doors to open. In the face of all that, Cellocracy went on first. We quickly realized that there was no point in worrying much about dynamics. If we wanted anyone to hear us beyond ten feet we were going to have to pull out all the stops. Even then... In a way that was OK, it freed us from the usual jitters - who'd have noticed any mistakes? So, being more relaxed, we played better. Our fifteen minute set went without a hitch. We all felt really good about it.

I had worked pretty hard all week on the bowing and dynamics on the one Rudolf Matz piece that I'd stumbled through at our last outing. I play first cello on this one, so I have been hyper-conscious of my sound. Both my partners had suggested that I was the only one who thought there was a problem... :) Nevertheless, you always know.... don't you? And last night it went great - no flubs, no sour notes, a good clean tempo, all the bowings were right. Only the dynamics were off - but I purposefully let that go due to the background noise level.

After our fifteen-minutes were up we joined the orchestra and played another fifteen. Then we went inside to watch the show (the first half included all the beginning dancers - some as young as 3 - that was fun!) We reconvened in the lobby to play for two intermissions, and then packed up and left.

One of the best pieces in the dance recital was an extended choreographed set from the play, "Cats". I've always liked that theme (4G-8D, 4F-8E, 4D-8B, 4C-8A, 4B-8G, 4A-8F#, 2G). It turns out that one of our books has a duet for cellos of the song "Memory", which ends with that theme. I played it through this morning and found it was certainly within our reach. Hopefully we'll be able to add this crowd-pleaser to our repertoire...

Cello1 told us last night that she won a spot in a summer arts program overseas (in part because she is a cellist). She'll be leaving at the end of June and won't return until after our next scheduled concert at the end of July. Fortunately our orchestra conductor has been learning the cello and has agreed to take her place while she's gone. Who knows, this might yet turn into a quartet...

Congratulations! What a good sized crowd - I'm sure some of them heard you and appreciated it. I wish we could get a good sized crowd to show up at our orchestra's concerts. This past Saturday I estimate we had about 150.
Cello-cle Cats develop slowly,
Cello-cle Cats are not too big;
Cello-cle Cats do back-up and soli,
They know how to play a gavotte and a jig.
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