Always practice in your recital outfit!
I always tell my students to practice at least once in their recital outfit so they can find out whether it will impede them in any way. I wish I had taken my own advice! I learned this the hard way today when I played on the Rededication Concert at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. My skirt was just a little too narrow which restricted my movement. Since the bench was unadjustable, and a little too high, I found myself with my feet dangling above the pedals. My sense of where the pedals were was just about lost! And I continually had a sense that I was falling! You got it, with my crazy schedule this past month, I never got a chance to practice in my dress. Although I’ve played in this dress at other recitals, this time the high, unadjustable bench made it very difficult to maneuver in. Chalk this up to a learning experience!
Suffice it to say that I was a tiny bit disappointed in my performance—it was not as perfect as I know I can play it. I had to pat myself on the back, though, for figuring out how to register the Mozart F Minor Fantasy (K.608), without the aid of combination action. You see, on the J. W. Walker organ, the stop action is purely mechanical and all stops have to be pulled by hand.
Mark Wong was the other recitalist and played his own arrangement of “Christ is alive” (TRURO), Sonata No. 17, op. 181 by Josef Rheinberger, “A Prelude for Evensong” by Christopher Tambling, and ended with “Litanies” by Jehan Alain. (I told him he must have a hole in his head to attempt this piece, written for three manuals, on the St. Christopher’s organ which only has two manuals and no combination action! But he made it work.)
Mark also told the story of how he first was hired as the organist of St. Christopher’s in 1980 and came on Saturdays to practice the old Hammond organ. A lady used to always come in and listen to him—he referred to her as a “bag lady,” because apparently she carried a big bag with her. Occasionally she would ask Mark questions about the organ. In 1981, the Rev. Bob Brown, the rector at the time, told the congregation that they needed $65,000 for a new organ and everyone groaned. But only week later, he told everyone that the organ was paid for by Carol Jean Root. Even at that time, Mark did not know who she was. Two years later, when the organ was installed, Mark asked to meet her, and was surprised it was the “bag lady!”
In case you want to see a copy of the program, you can click here..
Meanwhile, my students, Sophia and Raphael, played well at their recital yesterday afternoon. No problem with their recital outfits!
Last night I joined a large crowd at Kawaiaha’o Church in listening to Jeremy Wong’s final concert directing the Honolulu Chorale. As he said, it was bittersweet, in that they have thrived under his care and tutelage over the last three years. Jeremy will be the Choral Director of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, serving as a full-year sabbatical replacement for Miguel Felipe—a big step in his rising career.