A First in Performance

This past Saturday I was in my first payed performance…ever. It was an amazing experience, and I would hope to be doing more live performances in the future. The following story is completely true, and I hope you enjoy.

Shout out to my wonderful teacher who led the band and teaches just about every string instrument there is to be taught, as well as vocals and piano. To my teacher, if you’re reading this, thank you so very much for making this all possible!

 

Finally, it was the day of the performance.

Four weeks of hard-core practice. Three hours. Two breaks. One packed restaurant.

The band and I got there about an hour early. We came in two cars, since the equipment (and my cello, primarily) took up a lot of space. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was still closed, but the staff was there getting ready for the place to open. Since there was no stage, the restaurant staff had moved a few tables out of the way to make a small space for us to set up.

Speakers, check. Acoustically tuned amps, check. Connection cables, check. Vocal microphones…

One of the microphones wasn’t working, and nor was the second connection on our speaker. Three people and a phone flashlight worked for nearly half an hour trying to get the other microphones to work. We had another singer coming other than just our lead, so it was crucial that we at least had two working out of the three. The restaurant had just opened when we decided to use the backup instrument microphone for vocals, rather than instrumentals.

Electric piano with bench and petal…acoustic guitar…ukulele…violin…cello. The cleared stage was set and ready to go for three hours later when we were to perform.

The hours that preceded the performance went by in a flash. We ate at the restaurant before it got too crowded and planned out our playlist in the meantime. As the newest member of the band, this was the first time I was really able to mesh with the rest of the members outside of practice, all of whom were older and more experienced at live performance than I. Jokes, stories, and laughter filled the air along with the anticipation of what was to follow.

By the time we got done planning, it was already time to start. By this time, it was prime time for the restaurant, and every table was full of people, expectant of a good performance. Our guest singer kicked us off with a selection of country music. Her voice lifted over the crowd as she sang, building an atmosphere like none other I had seen in practice. My accompaniment was slap-bass, I had to keep the rhythm going. Next came the pop and original songs written by various members of the band. The chords for these were simple, and I only had to keep up baseline, which isn’t hard when you have the chords memorized.

Last but certainly not least for me was the celtic selection. Here I had two solos, both fast-paced violin pieces transposed to bass clef with no music to read off of. Yet again, I had to have them memorized, with intonation and shifting perfect all the way.

For the first time that I can remember, I didn’t panic. There, on the floor of a packed restaurant, I played without thinking or worrying about making a mistake. Of course, I wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t matter. After that, the next three hours went by faster than the time we spent in anticipation of the performance. People afterwards congratulated us on our performance, and no one noticed any mistakes I may have made. In the end, I came out of that restaurant with more than just some money; I had gained both a new life experience as an individual and as a shared memory with the band.

 


2 thoughts on “A First in Performance

  1. Sounds like a blast! Wish I could have been there to see a part of it. Six hours (prep/performance) sounds like quite a task!

    Like

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