I thought I knew what Saturday would be like.
There were some new wrinkles this year.
I was a bit scatterbrained. I accidentally left one of the books I needed (24 Italian Arias) at the HS on Friday when I was there to rehearse. I didn’t realize it was not in my bag until early Saturday morning. I had no keys to the HS, of course, and I could not reach the choir teacher (which was understandable since it was 7 am on Saturday morning!).
Anyway, my daughter and I left for the contest site (which, thankfully, is only a few minutes away) hoping that I would find a solution once I arrived there. We went to the vocal warmup room where we found an electronic keyboard in miserable condition. Most of the keys between middle C and the C above that either didn’t make a sound, were stuck and wouldn’t move, or did play but made a clicking sound. Awesome.
My daughter got warmed up and we did a run through or two. We went out into the hall and I started digging in my bag for my schedule. You know, the schedule I had highlighted all my events and times and room numbers? Not in my bag. Fortunately before I could get too frazzled my daughter’s friend came out of the room holding my schedule up in the air! YAY!
We were off! We walked to the building where the vocal events would be judged. I found my first soloist. I broke the news to her that I didn’t have the book I needed to play for her. Fortunately, she had another book with her for the judge’s copy, but I still needed to find one for me to use. I went around the corner looking for music teachers and accompanists. I ran into a couple of the few people I know here: the middle school choir teacher and a church choir director (who is also a piano accompanist). The church choir guy had a copy of the book! It was in the high key, but I said I would talk to the judge and thought it would be fine.
I went back to my soloist with the book and the good news. Oh no! The book she had was also in the high key! I needed at least one book in the low key so she could sing in the correct range (if I played the high key, it would not work for her voice). So — back down the hallway I went. The next person I saw was another young woman from our HS whom I was to accompany that day. Fortunately she had the 24 Italian Arias book with her in the correct key, and she wouldn’t need it until I had finished playing for the first young woman because she could not sing until I arrived anyway (as her accompanist).
Back to the first soloist. We were ready to go! I approached the judge with the wrong key book and explained the situation making clear the blame was all mine. She sang (beautifully). All was well. I ran out the door to the next event (back to the young woman who gave me the book).
I sat down at the piano to accompany this young woman for her Italian aria, and discovered I did not have my black binder (with the copy of her song in it!). I surmised that I must have left it on top of the piano in the first room. My daughter was dispatched to retrieve my binder and this amazingly well prepared young singer meanwhile pulled a copy of her song out of her bag for me to use instantly. I was very impressed!
This soloist sang beautifully, too. Thankfully she was not disturbed by the music drama.
I apologized profusely and assured her that I am not usually prone to this level of confusion, music-wise. Sigh.
My daughter arrived with my binder, and we continued on our way through the events on my list.
There were other small dramas throughout the day, but thankfully none involved my music or lack of it. The next time I played in the room where I realized I didn’t have my binder, I assured the judge I had not lost anything or left anything behind ever since I saw him earlier in the day.
The other big surprise was that people were not welcome to enter the judging rooms unless they had permission from the performer(s). I did not know this!! Everywhere I have ever attended solo/ensemble contest (several decades and in three states) people were welcome, even encouraged, to listen. There is much to be learned by listening to a good judge give feedback and comments.Embed from Getty Images
On Saturday, I accidentally went into a room before I knew of this new wrinkle (general public not invited into the performance rooms).
The young violist played a Bach prelude and Minuet. I enjoyed hearing her play, but I wonder now if I made her nervous and if she was wondering why I was there. She is from our HS, so I will hopefully be able to find her to apologize for my mis-step and inadvertent performance crashing.