“Okay—everyone say, ‘Pants are useless’ as we take a bow!”
The violinist in my trio, Andrew, had been joking about how uncomfortable men’s dress pants were for the past three minutes that we had been standing backstage, waiting for our turn to go on and perform two movements of Debussy’s piano, violin, cello trio in the DePaul String Chamber Showcase.
As the group before us finished their final movement of the night and the applause began, my heart raced faster all of a sudden. Although I love playing in chamber groups and feel more comfortable performing an in ensemble than by myself, I definitely still get nervous each time I walk out on the Concert Hall
stage for the Chamber Showcase that is held toward the end of each quarter.
Once the previous group came backstage, and we congratulated them on a stellar performance, the stage managers quickly asked me if I would prefer a cello chair or a bench; it was suddenly a very huge decision that was difficult for me to make. After going back and forth in my mind about which would feel more comfortable, I decided on the cello chair and waited for them to return and open the door for us to walk out onto the stage.
I was the first person to walk onto the stage, and I immediately noticed that there was a decently sized audience clapping for us, and the lights were very bright! Once I was near my seat to bow, I also noticed how close our seats were to the edge of the stage, and that scared me a little bit. I bowed anyways and told myself the strange saying Andrew had come up with as I bowed forward and rose back up.
We sat down, and I adjusted my endpin multiple times before I tuned to our pianist, Ryan, and let Andrew tune to me. Then, we were off! We played the cute Scherzo
movement, beginning and ending with pizzicato
. We then glided through the graceful third movement, a gorgeous Intermezzo
with a stunning melody that the cello begins with and then passes off to the violin. We ended the third movement with a final G major chord that was held by a fermata, and Andrew and I both slowly took our bows off our strings, keeping eye contact.
Once we put our bows down, it took the audience at least 4 seconds to clap. When I was on the stage, I was worried that the audience wasn’t sure if we were done performing, and I felt extremely awkward. But when I talked to people afterward, they said that the performance was beautiful, and I realized that they didn’t want to ruin the moment shared between the audience and us as the final chord hung in the air. That is the mark of a successful performance for me!
As I am writing this, I am listening to the recording of us for the first time. And while I had some intonation and slight ensemble issues that I wish I could have fixed with my own part, I feel very good about that performance. I thoroughly enjoyed the chamber group I chose to participate in this past quarter, and we had a blast learning a piece that not many people have actually ever heard. I was able to fight through the nerves and completely enjoy myself on the stage, and we were able to emotionally connect with one another and with the audience, which was full of both our peers and strangers. And that’s all I could ever ask for in any performance I ever give!
Thanks for a great quarter of making music, Andrew and Ryan, and just remember, everyone: Pants are USELESS.