Sunday, December 15th, we had our 11th Christmas recital. It’s amazing to reflect on these past several years, but I remember each event with fondness. This year, 18 students performed… mostly piano, several voice, and one guitar. My friend, April, also joined us (for the third time) and performed a piano duet with me.
Several wonderful volunteers (my parents & several studio families & friends), came early to help set up. Students arrived around 2:15, and checked in with me. I took photos of each student, and did my best to set up a sound check for guitar & voice… turns out, I should leave that to the professionals. :) My brother-in-law, Jason, saved the day when he arrived with my adorable 4-year old nephew and fixed my electronics work, ensuring wonderful sound support for the students. We closed the divider between the sanctuary and the fellowship area, so Mom and Emma could expertly prepare the back room for the refreshments to be served after the recital, while I chatted with students and encouraged them about their upcoming performances.
I gave my nervous speech (since I prefer to play piano in public WAY more than I enjoy speaking in public), and asked Lily to come up on stage. The 15th of December is a special day! We, everyone in attendance, sang “Happy Birthday” to the newly 7-year old.
At approximately 3:00, the start time of our recital, I asked all students to meet me in the fellowship area, where they would line up by height for group photos. While lined up, we had the opportunity to take a few fun panoramic photos. They filed into the sanctuary and up on stage beautifully, without practice! I was delighted. Group photos went smoother than ever with parents and grandparents adamantly taking photos from around the auditorium, and the students returned to their seats.
Last minute, I asked my friend, April, to take videos of each performance. She did a splendid job, even on the spot! Thank you, April, for jumping in to do that for me, and for saving the day when my camera’s memory card ran out of room!
After thanking everyone for coming, we started the recital. Everyone had programs, and we use a specific system developed through trial and error, to cut down on awkward pauses between student performances. The first row in front of the piano is reserved for myself, any “right-hand-person” assistants, the very next performer, and my many supplies (camera, phone, program, music, speeches, pen, whiteboard, electrical/sound equipment, etc). The second row in front of the piano is reserved for the family members of the current performer and the next performer. When a student approaches the piano, the next student on the list will come up to the front row and their family will come up to the 2nd row to join the performing student’s family (often 2 families sit in that row at any given time). When the student leaves the piano, the student in the front row approaches the piano, and their family starts taking photos, while the one who just finished performing will return with his/her family to their original seats, and the next one on the list will approach the first row and that family will join the performing student’s family in the second row.
Sounds extremely confusing as I read that again, but actually it works quite well! This way, everyone has the opportunity to capture great photos, and to be emotional and encouraging supporters, close to their children.
Everyone did a wonderful job! Some new highlight performances (though everyone made me super proud) were… several student duets, a student trio of three 1st graders from the Montessori school, a guitar solo (started teaching in early summer), a vocal solo, and three vocal duets (one with harmonies). Everyone handled their nerves and stage fright with poise & focus, as well as their tiny mistakes with confidence and skill. Performing students were 5 through 15 years old. When the performances ended, families had the opportunity to enjoy refreshments (provided by them), sign the guestbook, and participate in an M&M guessing contest. We took more photos at the piano together, exchanged Christmas gifts, and I had the opportunity to catch up with families, parents, and students in a more casual way than at lessons. I am so proud of everyone! Have a wonderful Christmas! I am very excited for the upcoming year, and everything we’re going to accomplish in 2014.
- Winner of M&M guessing contest = Hannah, friend of performing student Hannah – how fun! There were 912 M&M’s, and her guess was 1000. I counted the M&M’s while watching “A Christmas Carol” with my family a couple nights before the recital.
- This was only the 2nd recital a student has performed ON their birthday. The last time it happened was several years ago when we were at Day Music Company, and Joey was celebrating, I believe, his 16th birthday.
- So far, the following wonderful guests have helped provide some of the videos and photos you see related to the recital we had December 15th… my Mom, my friend April, Alexa’s mom Michelle, and Sarah’s mom Natalie & her dad Eric.
- The best week of practicing always seems to be the week before the recital, but this year, everyone practiced diligently during the entire process leading up to the performance, often even attending extra rehearsals and lessons.
- Volunteers = Kaitlyn (decorations), April (decorations, video recording), Mom (refreshment area & overview), Emma (refreshment area), Jason (sound system), Dad (cleanup). If I missed anyone, I sincerely apologize! So many wonderful people helped make this entire recital a major success. Thank you, studio families, for providing the fingerfood refreshments everyone enjoyed. You are amazing!
- A glimpse into some “behind-the-scenes” news… 1) My car broke down upon arriving at the recital and had to be towed away, which my dad coordinated during the recital without a glitch, so I was able to focus on my students and keeping the recital moving forward. 2) A student forgot to bring her music, but had one of her songs memorized, so was able to play anyway. 3) Camera memory card ran out of space mid-performance (note to self… always use a memory card with more storage than 8gb). 4) I have had a bronchitis/asthma cough for several months on & off, and it caught up to me at the recital, where I had to step out of the performance for a moment, and asked my student, Alexa, to wait at the piano between her songs (which she handled VERY well). 5) I arrived at the church just before 12:30, students began arriving at 2:00, the performance started shortly after 3:00 (almost on time), recital ended at 4:15, the last of us left the venue at 5:30.
Links to VIDEOS (pending)
It appears something happened to Caelyn’s performance video… it shrieks at me, so I decided not to upload. Did anyone else record her video (#27)?
Links to PHOTOS (pending)
Links to PREVIOUS recital posts… (pending)