I’m one of those people you know who dreams (big and small) and are determined to make them come true (sooner or later). People often tell me how they admire my determination, but for me it is simply an obsession over something I truly desire. One of my dreams was to one day make enough money to buy a big house, so I can have a Steinway grand piano, and hold house concerts. The house and piano happened a few years ago, but it took me a few more years to get back to my piano practice routine plus make enough friends locally who were interested in classical piano music.
Two months ago my friend June came to visit me. We met at the School of Music at Indiana University and have been great friend since. She has a recital at the end of this month and I invited her to come stay with me and practice at my house until her recital date. Then it occurred to me that this may be a great opportunity for me to hold my first house concert. My original plan was to get a full concert program ready myself and do a solo concert later this year, but then I thought — wouldn’t it be more fun for the audience if they could hear two pianists in one concert? That way each of us only need to be responsible for half of the program. Also, just because we do a concert in January, doesn’t mean there can’t be another one later in the year.
June gladly said yes and we started working on the details. We have never played together but decided to learn some duets for the concert. (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 4 through 7 by Brahms) We carefully considered potential audience’s availability and decided to hold the concert in the evening on 1/11, which was a Saturday. A few days before the concert, Mike moved the furniture out of the living room and steam-cleaned the carpet. Then his dad and our friend Siong came to help move the piano from the piano room to our big living room. Mike’s step mom also volunteered to help with the reception table, after learning about my pathetic dinnerware collection and poor presentation skills. We arranged the chairs and the whole space looked cozy and professional.
Invites were sent and everything seemed to go very well, until a thunderstorm started a few hours before the concert! Even though it prevented a few people from coming, the rest who came arrived on time. My friend Dawn (owner of Single Smile Cafe) brought some amazing chocolate fondue, and Lynn made the reception table so much prettier than I expected. Everyone went straight to the reception table (wait, aren’t you here for the concert? — alright, I admit I couldn’t help getting a few bites too…) and started chatting. I was glad to see the guests enjoying their time. Meanwhile, my piano studio (next to the living room) was now turned into the pianists’ greenroom, and June was still there practicing on my Yamaha keyboard (with the headphone on so the audience wouldn’t hear her) because she was to play first. She presented the whole Schubert’s last Sonata, D. 960.
The concert turned out great. June and I both talked a little about our pieces before we started playing — the background of the composer and the piece, and how we felt about them as the interpreters. There was a 15 min intermission during when everyone (oh, yes, me included of course….) ate, drank, and chatted more. We started the second half on time with my performance of Chopin Ballade no. 4, and the whole concert ended with our duet. After that there was another round of eating, drinking and chatting.
It was a dream come true and it was more fun than I imagined. Needless to say I decided to do more house concerts in the future. I already have more ideas for them, one being getting this girl to play …
This is my little friend Kirby (guitarist/pianist), trying out my piano after the concert. I think she liked it!