We slipped in quietly and I saw her eyes search the small crowd for her piano instructor. My oldest daughter is much like a young filly, tall and lean and a bit skittish when she has to perform.
A few young musicians clutched their books or music sheets, the younger ones with their parents and the older ones sat alone or stood waiting further instruction. The host wore a black tuxedo.
As the host welcomed guests to The Gibson Centre, he explained that this recital was put on by the New Tecumseth Arts Council for the purpose of showcasing the grand piano. Ten music students were invited to perform, and piano instructors of the county as well as various guests from the community gathered to hear the deep tones, delicate melodies, and the beauty that can only be garnered from a grand piano.
The host went on to explain that most students learn and practise on upright pianos or keyboards and only experience playing a grand at festivals, exams, and occasional recitals. Playing a grand is a different experience than playing an upright piano.
The New Tecumseth Arts Council, in collaboration with The Gibson - Centre for Community, Arts, and Culture, is offering a new Practise Programme to the community. Musicians are able to pay $5.00 per half hour and experience practising on a Grand Piano at the Gibson Centre. The fees paid, support the up-keep of the instrument, tuning, service, and cleaning. This recital had been arranged to introduce the Programme to the community.
The man in black, I forget his name, then had piano instructors introduce their students and the recital began. The first young man, Jordon, is working on his Grade 8 exam. He came to the piano dressed in bright red pants, a black cotton dress shirt, and shiny, black funky shoes with square extended toes. For some reason he reminded me of Elton John. This red-headed 15 year old, with dyed orange hair is a skilled piano player. When he began to play, I began to relax.
I stopped looking at the skirt of the black stage and other appointments of the Performance Hall. I stopped wondering at the beauty of the building and admiring the tan, ten-inch square pillars of rough hewn wood and the polished plank flooring. The rose light from the stained glass windows and the art displayed on the walls began to fade. I merely listened to the notes and cadence of the piece.
Time stopped, and the beauty of the music penetrated my soul, smoothing out tensions of the day, that, until that time, I hadn't even been aware of.
Other musicians played, most were at the Grade 8 level or higher. With each performer, the melodies revived and energized my soul. The notes hung in the air, drifted down, and rose again. I felt like an eagle on the wind.
Hannah, playing at the Grade 3 level, did a beautiful job on the The Colours of the Wind in spite of her butterflies and lack of confidence and experience.
The performance itself was perhaps 35 minutes long and time slowed. As I exited the Performance Hall for the small reception in the Lobby, I realized I had been given a gift. Beauty in all forms is a gift. I chose to slow down, to be present in the moment, and to enjoy the gift of now. Time with my oldest daughter, music, and a pause in the rhythm of the day.
Although I have been to the Gibson Centre on many occasions, I never cease to enjoy the loveliness of the building. It's character lies in the fact that it is a restored Feed Mill. It combines the old with the new. Warm tones of wood and brick restored, large new windows, a glass elevator, high ceilings with black duct work and lighting in black steel frames combine charm and elegance. The decor is tasteful with granite counter tops and brass taps in the washrooms and glass showcases for art. The bar, and woodwork are a rich red mahogany. The total effect is welcoming where function serves purpose. Another gift.
We slip out quietly, this young beauty and I. Her mane shines golden in the sun. How our lives are made richer when we slow down and listen to the music, feast our eyes on the beauty around us, and the beauty in others.
A note is stirred in my soul, whispered from the Giver of all gifts, and a verse comes to mind.
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28 -31 NIV