Sunday, April 11, 2010

Artsy-Fartsy Weekend

Friday night, Susan and I attended a performance of the play Arsenic and Old Lace produced by the local community theatre group, Sneak Pique Productions. We saw that group's first-ever production in November (remember?), which was quite good, and so was this one. Do you know the play? Famous as it is, I had never read it or seen a production of it before, so I was surprised by the plot twists and the jokes throughout. Everything was very polished, from the directing to the acting to the set and props and costumes to the publicity. I'm sure most people would be surprised to know that this is a brand-new theatre group!

Saturday afternoon, Abigail and Suzanna performed in the 2010 Trinity Junior High and Elementary Solo and Ensemble Music Festival. Last year was our first experience with this event when Suzanna, as a 5th-grader, sang a solo (remember?). This year, Abigail, as a 5th-grader, was old enough to perform, too, so she played a saxophone solo, and she and Suzanna sang a duet. Abigail's band teacher helped her prepare her instrumental solo, and Susan and I helped the girls with their vocal duet. Wanna hear?

Abigail just started playing the saxophone last summer (remember?), so keep that in mind as you listen. She was working on using breath support to get all the notes to come out while still observing dynamics (i.e., blowing enough air to hit the notes even while playing soft during the parts marked piano).

When Abigail's music teacher (who taught Suzanna last year) heard this song at a music workshop, she thought of it as a possibility for our daughters to sing for this event. So they did! Note that, just days ago, the girls came down with some kind of cold, so they were singing with stuffed noses and draining sinuses (graphic, perhaps, but true).

This afternoon, our family drove to Richardton, ND to perform for the residents of the nursing home there. A couple months ago, a woman who works there phoned us to say that she had heard about our family's singing, and she wondered if we would sing for the residents (part of her job is arranging for people to come and provide music for the residents on Sunday afternoons). So we offered a musical smorgasbord: I accompanied on the piano as the five of us sang, as Susan and the girls sang, as the three girls sang, as Abigail and Suzanna sang their duet from yesterday, as each daughter sang a solo, as Susan sang a solo, as I sang a solo, and as Susan and I sang a duet. Each daughter played several piano solos from memory, and Abigail (on saxophone) and Suzanna (on trombone) each played an instrumental solo, too. Afterward we joined the residents for coffee and cookies and visiting.

Afterward, we drove back to Dickinson in time for me to perform in "Guys Get Funky," an all-male piano recital sponsored by the Badlands Music Teachers Association. The group puts on this recital to let boys who take piano lessons see all the other boys who take piano lessons--as well as men who play piano--in order to encourage them to stick with piano. There were beginning pianists, high school boys who were quite good, a university student who was outstanding, and a few adults, too. I was last on the program, and I played a song ("March" by Hansi Alt) that I had played for a piano festival when I was a kid competing each year the way that our daughters do now. Who would have guessed that I'd ever perform again in a piano recital with my own piano lesson days so far behind me?!


  1. It was a very busy weekend -- but lots of fun. Maybe next weekend will be less hectic and more relaxing...maybe.

  2. Wow!!! I love the duet! The harmony was awesome. And I didn't hear any evidence of a cold in either of them. Lovely job girls!