Tuesday, July 24, 2007

singing for my supper


Last week we had a summer social event at work, to which lots of VIPS were invited.

Against my will and to my surprise, I ended up entertaining this crowd with the rusty tones of my cello. Almost entirely unrehearsed.

Here's the tale: several months ago I decided this BBQ event would be cheered considerably by live music. Colleagues agreed wholeheartedly, so I got on the case. A professional musician in the family suggested I contact a friend of hers who runs a music agency. I did so, she was very helpful and we decided she would organise two violinists to play a couple of hours of jazz at the BBQ, at a slightly reduced rate. Excellent. Entertainment sorted. I emailed her just to confirm all the details after we spoke.

She didn't reply to my email but I didn't worry: musicians are artists after all, you have to allow for a bit of disorganisation. And we'd already sorted all the details by phone.

I called her three weeks before the event, to confirm all was well, and left a voicemail message. I then went on holiday.

When I came back, 4 days before the BBQ, there had been no return call from her. And still no email. I began to worry. I kept calling and emailing: no response. The BBQ was on Thursday. When I still hadn't heard from her at Wednesday lunchtime I decided a backup plan was needed.

A Warwickshire friend happened to be at a literature conference in London on Thursday and Friday, and was staying with us on the Thursday night. I texted her and asked her to bring her violin along, then downloaded some duets from www.virtualsheetmusic.com

I carted the cello into work on Thursday morning. Danny arrived fresh from a day's conference, loaded with her violin, at 6pm. The professionals hadn't showed up. So we ran upstairs, practiced the music I'd downloaded and then performed for half an hour. It was ok. Not of a professional standard, not polished, but ok.

I felt curiously staisfied with this. It takes a lot to make me get the old cello out these days - but nice to know I can pull it off if I need to.

(I'd love to tell you who the blinking music agency are.....but maybe there was a really excellent reason for their utter unreliability, so I'll refrain.)

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