No Parts, No Practice, No Problem.

13 12 2006

quartet.jpgA few days ago, I played at a wedding as the violist for a string quartet. It was my first time in a real quartet, and my first really serious performance as a violist. The C-clef nearly chewed me up and spat me out. Not to mention that I kept wishing my viola had warmer-sounding strings on it.

I like to call our little group the 3NP-Quartet: No Parts, No Practice, No Problem. We ran out of songs during the reception, and we were (well, at least I was) literally improvising our parts on subsequent tunes…tunes I daresay we had never, never rehearsed…and a few of them I had never heard before. It was hilarious. But even more hilarious was the fact that we sounded good. 🙂

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On another wedding gig (this time as a solo violinist…how boring…), the whole thing started as a near-disaster: I was up at 5:30 in the morning, headed to the meeting place at 6:10, grabbed a very quick breakfast at McDonald’s, only to find the meeting place devoid of any signs of anybody going anywhere. I literally sat on the sidewalk, violin case and all, and watched early-morning traffic for half an hour before I’m finally told that everyone was rather late.

Upon arrival at the venue, I found the place to be insufferably hot – mainly due to the fact the air conditioning was down (it stayed down, too, through the whole ceremony). Add to that the fact that the place had no sound system to speak of – which would have been fine if I had been hired to just look as if I was playing the violin. The sympathetic sound engineer jury-rigged a microphone stand (there were none of those available either) for me, and when it came my turn to play, everything went without much of a hitch…although when I asked (rather apologetically) for my fee, the coordinator gave me a blank look. Fortunately, that straightened itself out – although I’m considering raising my fee…by quite a bit, just to make sure people think twice before hiring string musicians for ambience.

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