Performing Downwind

It was a gorgeous summer afternoon in the park. A perfect day for a wedding. Nestled next to ocean and mountains, the small crowd stood, necks craned expectantly. The prelude music came to a gentle cadence, and at that moment the bride made her grand entrance.

For the pianist, this was also the moment of truth. Following the cues, he dutifully began the processional piece, a keyboard arrangement of Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”. He had arrived at the location early to scout out the area. He had checked and rechecked the order of the music in the binder and matched it with the order of the ceremony. He had even brought two clothespins to use as anchors against any breeze that might turn a page without warning.

His piano teachers never taught him how to factor in the wind, but an earlier outdoor performance had taught him to assume the worst as far as weather goes. Despite the clothespins, an unruly plastic divider began to flap to and fro, disrupting the steady eighth-note pulse in the left hand as he struggled to keep the page in place. Fortunately, the focus was on the bride and this commotion went unnoticed. After 16 bars of one-and-a-half-hand piano music, the situation stabilized and went smoothly, no one the wiser. Crisis averted.
Moral of the story: When performing outdoors, be vigilant for wind! The slightest breeze can lift you into a different piece altogether. Maybe Roland keyboards should come with a little wind sock attachment?

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