Hello my lovelies. Today I am going to introduce you to one of my oldest friends. We have known each other since 1977. We lost touch in 1985, I knew where she was but we had no contact until 2011 when I took the initiative to dig her out and re-establish our friendship. Here she is -
A clarinet, a Boosey and Hawkes Regent, standard school issue in 1977. I had lessons again for a couple of years and I intended to take exams, but my nerves wouldn't let me. As my Grade 6 approached I felt like I was 15 years old again, I lost sleep and was literally sick with nerves, so I made a grown-up decision to back out and I haven't regretted it, even though if I passed Grade 6 I could teach beginners and earn some money, apparently.
I am not a great player, but I do love to make music, especially with other people, so when my friend and erstwhile teacher asked me to give a recital with her, I agreed. She is the organist HERE and once a month they hold a lunch followed by a short (very short, about 20 minutes) concert. This is the third time I have played for them and the audience is small, informal and friendly, just what a nerve-wracked player like me needs.
The church is lovely. This building was apparently built in about 1200, replacing an earlier building, but it had a major refurb in the 19th century, and the heating is definitely 20th century (a major consideration for musicians - you can't play with cold fingers!).
The ceiling has been painted red and pale blue. I really like it.
There are some lovely stained glass windows: I particularly like this one, the church's war memorial. Can you see the soldier and the sailor on the right?
I was taken by surprise when, during lunch (I can't eat much because I'm about to play a woodwind instrument!) someone said to me, "Are you our artist today?" I was shocked into silence so she repeated her gentle question. AN ARTIST!!!!! I have never considered myself in that light before. An Artist. Wow. And that is what I have learned as an adult player: you don't have to be a wonderful player to bring pleasure to other people AND TO YOURSELF. How I wish I had known that when I was young, the nerves might not have crippled me. Fear of failure is very debilitating.
So we played some pieces and I played a couple of Gershwin solos (ooh, palindrome!) and each of us read a poem. I chose this one by Emma Chatonoir-
Who wouldn't want
To kiss a clarinetist
The most reserved members
Of the band
Half of the section
Is already in a relationship
But half of the section
Is almost always single
And oh my goodness
The players are beautiful
Not like flute beauty, better
Playing the somber tone
With dark timbre giving you goosebumps
Up to the screaming high notes
That don't sound musical, yet still work
Reed their lips
Clarinet is life
But you are love
Or at least to them
Clarinet players are the best kissers
And the sweetest people you'll meet
And they would risk a broken reed
Just to be close to you.
I have never kissed a clarinet player so you would have to ask the Best Beloved!
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x