Musical Meanderings

This is a blog centered around some of the musical encounters and experiences that I come upon in my daily life as a musician.

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Location: Alameda, California

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Isabelle's Debut: Reno Art Opening

Well, technically, the Reno art opening was not Isabelle's debut cello performance. She performed a few weeks ago at her preschool. The kids were all gathered around, twenty of them, as she dug into her repertoire of Twnkle Twinkle Little Star Variations, Ode to Joy, and You Are My Sunshine. As she played, you could hear a pin drop in the room. And I must say, I had never heard the children be quiet like that before, ever.

But last week was Isabelle's first professional gig. We drove up to play at my sister in-law's art opening at the Western Nevada Community College in Carson City, just outside of Reno. I was going to play some cello and bass duets with my brother Gary, who is an artist and a high school art teacher. Isabelle told me that she wanted to perform too, so I said okay tentatively, but I was not sure how the whole thing would turn out.

First of all, when we were driving to the show, Isabelle fell asleep in the car, so I let her sleep awhile. We arrived about a half an hour later than our scheduled performance time.

When we got to the show, I was really impressed with the work that my sister in-law, Jill Brugler, had done. Her sculptures were large busts of women with birds on their heads and masks with interesting facial expressions twisted this way and that and wall hanging platters with painted rock sculptures. It was very soulful and well-crafted work and the site was beautiful.

People were milling about and, after we visited the food table and had some cookies and chocolate covered raisins, I got my cello out. Isabelle said she wanted to play first. A small crowd gathered as I tuned her little cello. Their faces were curious and I could tell they were wondering if she could really play or not. She's only four!

Now, Isabelle sat on her little red chair that we brought for the occasion. She was all dolled up in a burgundy red velvet dress with flowers on the front, a red velvet beret and red cowboy boots to match. She certainly looked the part!

When she broke into her compositions, the faces all broke into smiles. Especially happy was her uncle Gary, who had never heard her play before. When she finished, the small crowd clapped and Isabelle stood up and took a bow. She loved the attention!

After that Gary and I played some bass and cello duets. I played the violin part and he played the cello parts from some classical favorites, such as Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach, and some of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. The combination of bass and cello was really sweet and mellow. We had just started in with some jazz standards when Jill came up and told us it was time to go.

I felt like we were just getting warmed up and I was ready to play more. It was just beginning to sound really good. But we packed up and left the gallery. This was the first time I had been asked to leave a gig! Usually I am running out the door the minute we are done.

So, we did our Reno debut. And Isabelle did her first real gig, at age four! Bravo, little one, and may you have many more chances to perform your beautiful music and spread happiness throughout your lifetime!


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