Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Red Butte Garden Gig 6/22/09

Red Butte Garden is, I believe, associated with the University of Utah, as it is located in their campus, way up on the side of the Wasatch mountains. It's a beautiful place with lots of drought tolerant, native Utah plants--and other plants, too. The view of the valley is incredible from way up there!

They are having a Monday Family Night concert series this year in their mostly-grass amphitheatre, and the Salt Lake Scots were privileged to take part in that last Monday night. We had two performances: one at 6 and one at 7, with an estimated attendance of 500 (we maybe got 200, but that's OK).

The weather, for only the second time this summer, was perfect: 70's, sunny, light breeze. We got to play in a really cool stage (in the shade) to a passle of people seated on the grass that sloped up before us.

This was a gig like many others: half hour of Jason stressing out over tuning, us marching on late and playing through standard band, small group and solo tunes. It was the end of a long day, and many of us hadn't eaten or hadn't had the chance to eat, coming directly from work. Personally, I'd been up since 0200, worked 11 hours, then gone home and mowed the lawn before showing up to play. I forgot to eat. The result was we were tired to begin with. At the end of the first performance I was, as usual, not paying attention. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Jason step forward and say something. Not having heard what he said, I stepped forward to ask what he had announced, and he said, "Amazing Grace. Solo. Any volunteers?"

There I was: stepped forward. I knew that tune. My chanter squeaks were gone. In a crazy instant, I said I would do it.

And Jason, instead of saying, "Um. . . how about . . . another volunteer?", as Jack suggested he could have, instantly said, "OK, good."

I stepped forward and began.
(photo courtesy of Mindy Pitcher)

This was a momentous occasion for me: my first solo with the entire band. Contrary to normal conditions, I was NOT nervous. I watched Jason's foot carefully as it kept time, played every note clean and clear . . . in short, it was perfect.

When the rest of the band joined in, I kept playing and stepped back. I would have taken a deep breath, but I was already taking lots of those.

(We won't talk about how it completely escaped me that I would have to play the first part twice through.)

Now, several days later, I can't remember if this happened in the first performance or the second, but I think it was the first. Not that it matters. What really matters are two things, actually:

1) that I played my solo perfectly, and

2) more importantly, that Jason didn't ask for somebody else when I volunteered.

This makes me want to laugh for joy! Still!

What This Means
This means I am good enough as a piper to be "showcased" as it were, and good enough as a public performer not to let nerves get in the way of my performing. Yesssssssssss!

What This Doesn't Mean . . .
. . .is that I don't have room for improvement. OK, that's a double negative. What I mean is, I still have LOTS of things to work on, primarily blowing and opening up my doublings so that you can hear every grace note. I'm sure there are other things, but I'll cross those bridges when I come to them.


1 comment:

Granpiper said...

It really was an awesome solo. I can't say I was surprised that you did so well, rather I was surprised that you stepped forward and volunteered. I listened carefully and in the end thought, "I knew she could pull off a great solo like that."