We had our students’ recital on January 30th, 2011.
Ten days before the concert, we had a rehearsal. Some students did not arrive on time as asked, so the rundown was not smooth from the beginning. One of MCs for the first group was not there, I had to stand in for him; the first two performers had to come late and so we had to start rehearsing from the third performer. There were way too many kids at the same time to be handled with; fortunately I had a couple parents to help with and the kids were in general cooperative. There was a big student crowd ready to get out of control and a tight schedule to be overrun at any time. It was a total madness: I would definitely suffer from a massive heart attack should I have cardiac problem.
It was a great experience for most students to have the rehearsal: most of them had never performed in front of a public audience while some of them were still very young, somewhere between age 4 and 5. After the hectic rehearsal, there was little time left for revising the final drafts of the recital brochure and the MC script.
The rehearsal revealed some students were already quite well prepared while others needed much more last-minute brush up than expected. The following week prior to the recital was a tough time for me: I was constantly going through the worst case scenario about the whole recital, especially running out of time due to the tight schedule and making the funniest presentation of the script by our possibly underprepared and nervous little MCs.
Finally, it was the day of our students’ recital.
I went to the recital hall early in the morning and got myself and the hall prepared before the performers arrived. Our backstage coordinators then came to get the students settled down and ready. Everyone was well dressed and excited. We were ready to go. Except our brochure which had not arrived yet.
While I was waiting for the arrival of our lovely brochure, I went outside and saw a great scene: our audience had arrived and was all queuing outside the entrance of the hall, all the way to the staircase!
Our star- brochures brought over by our great event coordinator – came at the very last minute right before our recital was on. I was much relieved. We started our performance a few minutes late as scheduled at 1pm. I, along with another student MC, came on the stage and greeted our audience. Then our concert began.
I had to play with the first few performers as they were quite young to be performed properly on their own. The first pair of MCs were a bit nervous but I could tell, especially one of them, did their homework and spoke much more fluently than in the rehearsal (Note: I decided to have my students to be the MCs because I wanted them to gain more stage performance and confidence in standing and eventually playing in front of the audience. And I did select the chosen ones out of certain reasons, e.g. improved behavior in lessons and progress in playing, etc.).
After the first few young ones had finished their performance, I went into the dressing room and caught my breath. The whole recital seemed to be under control of the backstage coordinators and pre-planned rundown. I began to worry that we might be running out of time since we started our recital late and it seemed that we were using up more time than counted in the rehearsal.
The girls in fact did much better job with the MC presentation than the boys. The older kids were much calmer than the young ones as some of them (my old students) had prior performance experience from our last recital, exams and competitions. I was feeling less anxious and let the students and coordinators do their job.
As the more advanced students went on to perform, I listened to their performance from the backstage. The audience seemed to react well and gave big applause to the courageous little performers. I felt I need not to worry about the last three adult students; they should be worried on their own but fine with their performance.
It came to the last performer of the day. I waited and got prepared for the last speech of the recital. I went out to greet the audience again and thank them for coming to the recital. Students and I took some great photos together; I finally came to my senses again and realized we had completed a wonderful students’ recital once again.
I was exhausted for the whole week after the completion of our recital.
To look back at our students’ recital, I could see there was much room for improvement in many areas. For one thing, it was a shame that I did not make time for myself to perform this time and might have disappointed many. There was no time at all for me and I was too involved with the whole event coordination matter. For sure next time I would do so otherwise. Another thing was that there was no intermission during the whole recital (due to tight schedule) and thus the younger performers could not hold still while sitting and inevitably made some noise. I did not blame them for doing so; as a matter of fact, the young ones had been behaving tremendously well for their age, and I was glad to see to it. About the MCs, I knew beforehand there would be much mistakes and mishaps produced by the students, but as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to give them – especially those who needed more encouragement – chances to improve their public performance manner and gain confidence from such opportunity and practice. I could tell both the MCs and performers did do so and they all behaved differently from the rehearsal already.
The recital hall had become too small for our growing crowd of students and audience; we would need a bigger venue for our next students’ recital, and that would mean much more administration and coordination work for the whole event management, and in simple words, bigger challenge for me. But that would just mean progress and improvement, and it would be a great thing, wouldn’t it?
After the recital, it is time to plan for the upcoming public performances. I truly need support and opinion from you, students and parents. Two wonderful students’ parents were great in helping us with organizing the recital this time and I was tremendously grateful for that. We would need more support in ideas and actions in the future. Readers and audience, please also feel free to voice out your ideas as well. I will keep posting the performance videos from our recital one by one here, please stay tuned.
Thank you all for your support along the way, whether you have participated in the recital or been reading my posts and following up our progress here or on our Facebook page. I will keep writing, articles and music. You can also let me know what topic you are interested in knowing more.
February 8, 2011.