Thursday, March 10, 2016

     This photo conjures up all kinds of emotions for me. Two years ago, I only knew this place as a state-of-the-art recital hall where Mr. Wonderful and I would occasionally go to hear some outstanding local talent. The accoustics are magnificent. The huge stately Steinway concert grand is like Father Time sitting proudly and wisely on the stage welcoming his guests who wander in excitedly seeking the best seat to watch the pianist's hands.

     The audience numbers between 250 and 275. There is a quiet intimacy that permeates the hall as the lights dim, and everyone settles in for the evening's program.

     Well, the evening's program will soon be me. Yes, just me. No one else to blame or praise--just me. This is the most exciting and terrifying feeling a 70-something could imagine. At age five, I took the stage for the first time, performing a two-piano duet with my teacher. I started on the wrong notes and played the entire piece off key. I was too young to be humiliated, but I was old enough to know that I had messed up. I don't recall being scolded, but it certainly didn't help my jitters in all the 12 more years of recitals that followed.

     A friend was telling me yesterday that she has a "go-to" piece that she plays whenever anyone asks her to play at her home. For so many years, despite my beautiful grand piano sitting elegantly in our living room, no one ever asked me to play. I was hostile for so long, wondering why no one asked. I felt foolish asking my guests if they'd like to hear me, so for almost 50 years, I didn't play for anyone.

     A couple of years ago, I got an idea, generated from my love of public speaking, and inspired by two dynamic local speakers. One researched a given topic, found numerous humorous and fascinating anecdotes and delivered speeches to thousands all over the country. He was a university professor, and he is an eloquent speaker. The other person delivered dramatic monologues that she wrote herself and acted out in costume. People in the audience were mesmerized by her performance, including me. I thought to myself, I could take my acting skills, my musical talent and my passion for research and teaching and put together a one-woman show combining what I admired from each of these performers. I did this, and now I will be performing for the second year in a row on this magnificent stage in this fabulous hall. My one-woman show features the music and story of a French composer narrated, partially in French, in costume by the woman behind the man. (Thank you, French maman and Prof. Antoine Adam at the Sorbonne, Margaret Anderson, Piano teacher, Toastmasters International, my creative musician father) The stories are scandalous, heartbreaking and inspiring.

     What emotions does this photo evoke for me? Pride. Passion. Courage, daring greatly in the Golden Years.