July 6, 2015

Before the Recital

Recitals and concerts delight the ear and the soul. Most musical events both calm and inspire. But the efforts made before such events require much thought, planning, and attention to detail. It is anything but calm. Tomoko knows.

Tomoko takes great pride in planning recitals. She carefully chooses pieces that showcase each student – and work together as a whole program. The sequence of performance also has its own rhythm, which Tomoko designs carefully.

The program itself also needs to be designed: the performances, program notes, and often biographies. The cover needs special attention too. And someone has to type the program and get it printed.

The venue logistics are just as challenging: scheduling the locale, checking lighting needs, ensuring that the instruments are available and in good working order, getting someone to record the performance – be it photos, videotape, or audiotape. Will there be food? That requires additional furniture, linens and utensils, decorations, as well as the food itself. Fortunately, Tomoko is able to call upon her students and other volunteers to help.

The following scenario typifies the hour or two before a recital. Tomoko even enters the door, someone sweeps her into the spacious lobby. “I saved a spot on the buffet table.” Tomoko turns around, and immediately starts to greet her friends. “Yes, yes, it’s a wonderful day. Yes, yes, so glad you could celebrate today.” Tomoko is relieved that she took the time the day before to work with the stage crew and her volunteer students to make sure that everything was in place for the big day. She peers into the main auditorium, its golden walls highlighted by the steaming slits of sunlight. “Ah, good, the video cameraman is in place.” She waves to the back of the room.

Daughter Beata gives Tomoko a big squeeze. “Shall I take pictures?” Tomoko beckons her students for photos. Beata serves as the holder of flowers and gifts as students give their tokens of appreciation to her mother. The lobby is filing up with friends and family from twelve to seventy-two, all eager to share their love of the piano – and Tomoko. She has built this family.

 And Tomoko has prepared the performers well for this day. They know where to sit, and when to go on stage. “Remember your name tag,” she reminds them. Tomoko gestures to a couple of them, and the rest know it’s show time. “Ladies and gentlemen, shall we take our seats?” one of the helpers calls out. The buzz in the lobby moves to the recital hall as people find a good seat close to the stage and to old friends. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. The recital begins.