Yesterday was the first in our series of Summer School of the Arts fundraising concerts. It was a regional grand piano showcase, featuring as many senior piano students as possible from within a 2 to 3 hour radius, plus any local less advanced students who wanted to play. There were also a couple of vocalists and two students who played both violin and piano.

Erin has the performer’s gift — adrenalin that fires her up, focuses her, and gives her performances gusto. She understands performance anxiety at an intellectual level but has never experienced it. What she gets is performance excitement, and does it ever come through in her playing.

She was the most advanced student playing on both violin and piano. On violin she did her Kreisler piece and on piano she did the mighty Khatchaturian Toccata (which I’ll have to video sometime). Both are showy pieces to start with … and gosh did she turn it on! Both pieces were stunning.

While I was incredibly proud and blown away by her playing, I felt a little badly for the way she stole the show twice over. There were some very nice performances from the other students. In a concert like this we all know that someone will play the flashiest piece that will catch everyone’s attention; that’s just how it goes. But somehow doing that on two different instruments just feels a little over the top. I think in future I will try to dissuade concert organizers from having her perform on both instruments — at least unless there are a few more advanced performers.

Oh, and the kids in the audience: not counting the performers, there were 7 homeschoolers and 2 schoolchildren in the audience. A better ratio than the day before at the garden workbee!

Stealing the show times two

2 thoughts on “Stealing the show times two

  • April 2, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Oh, I dunno…when I was a beginner (I started a couple of months before I turned 14), I loved attending the performances of really competent peers. If Erin is the most advanced student on two instruments, her playing may show a less advanced student what is possible. The principal cellist of our high school orchestra gave a stunning performance of “Kol Nidrei” (Bruch) , yet I also saw him playing first violin in a string quartet, with a borrowed violin held upright on his lap. I didn’t hold a grudge that he could play “my” instrument better than I, without ever having studied it! (As a grownup, his “day” job is cellist of the Muir String Quartet.)


  • April 4, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Deborah, that’s good to know. Still I wonder whether everyone would react the same way — with the grace and humility and optimistic enjoyment you felt. Especially if they weren’t relative beginners but had been studying for at least as many years as Erin. Still it’s reassuring to hear how you felt.

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