Celia Ramsay

Vocalist, Songwriter, Dance Caller, Teacher

I Got Through My Recital!

Last month, you'll recall, our heroine was about to do a PIANO RECITAL. It wasn't perfect, but she got through her song, and enjoyed listening to all of the other students, as they braved their way through their own musical experiences.

The recital was at the Freight and Salvage, the idea being that Libby McLaren's and Robin Flower's students can get a feel for what it's like to be on the big stage with lights and microphones and nerves - the whole enchilada. Robin teaches guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and Libby also teaches voice and accordion in addition to piano, so the recital was quite varied. 

When it was my turn, I sat down, took a deep breath, and put my hands on the keys. For a moment it was like I'd never seen this music before, and right off the bat, I played the second chord wrong; then I did it again. But I felt oddly sanguine about it - no panic - and focused in and actually read my music. I was pretty sure I'd make errors, but to me, the point was that I'd be flexible enough to save myself without having a meltdown. I played an English Country Dance tune called Elizabeth, a lovely romantic waltz that has a really delicious swell to it, and I got that part to my satisfaction. I even got to the point where I was appreciating the fine sound of the piano. I ended the song differently than I'd practiced it, but it sounded planned and then, it was over!

My husband observed something to me once that I believe is true: an audience wants performers - and not just beginning performers - to succeed, and we are quite forgiving when they stumble. That was clear at the end of my song, when our audience took care of me after my less-than-perfect rendition of Elizabeth by applauding my effort with gusto. Afterward, we had punch and cookies, and I made sure to tell the little boy whose lesson is after mine that he sounded great. And then a couple of women came up to me and told me that I was an inspiration to them, learning to play piano at my age, which was pretty cute. I said, "At our age, what have we got to lose by being beginners? I mean, when are we going to get another chance?"

(Editor's Etymological Aside: I was writing "...oddly sanguine - no blushing or panic..." and I thought, wait! Sanguine means optimistic or positive in an apparently bad or difficult situation, but it also signifies the color of blood, so suddenly the absence of blushing seemed all wrong! So I fixed it.)


You know last month I mentioned that Libby McLaren and Robin Flower will be performing a CD release concert at the Freight and Salvage on Saturday, June 20.

Well, turns out yours-truly will be singing backup on a couple of their songs, so you should come join in the fun! But don't make it about me, noooo! Come because their performances are fun and energetic and thoughtful and you leave feeling damned happy you were there to hear them perform their special brand of

Celtic-Americana. Wonderful original songs infused with roots music, Libby plays piano and accordion, with Robin guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and both of them singing their hearts out for you!