Last week was spent in the snowy Midwest, performing our acoustic show in St. Louis and then Music for 18 Musicians at the Krannert Center in Urbana. We also visited Jefferson College to speak to the students there. After our performance at the Krannert, we read some composer pieces while Matthew and Peter from Third Coast Percussion gave a percussion masterclass before driving home.
The Desmond Lee Concert Hall at Washington University is a gorgeous former synagogue with thunderous acoustics. We were having trouble hearing each other, but wondered how much it might change once people filled the seats. That’s when we were told not to be disappointed if no one showed up, because snow was forecast for that evening. Apparently no one in St. Louis leaves their homes during any kind of precipitation. And, truth be told, the drivers we encountered in St. Louis are pretty terrible. So we were just hoping that there would be more people in the audience than on stage, and were pleasantly surprised when probably around 100 die-hard music fans showed up.
We headed out early the next morning towards Urbana. I was in the car with Nathalie, so we made a pit stop for lunch at Li’l Porgy’s Bar-B-Q in Champaign, highly recommended by Brian Cole, the Dean of UNCSA. We were skeptical about BBQ in Champaign, IL, but were fortunately proved wrong. First good sign was that it was an easily missed shack by the side of the road. Second good sign was the smell of smoke as soon as you got out of the car. Third good sign was that it was de-licious. A full rack, rib tips, beans, potato salad, and cole slaw later, we were wondering whether it was an irresponsible decision to have that meal 6 hours before a performance. Both of us were falling asleep during rehearsal and groaning about our tummies.
But we pulled it together because we’re professionals, and embarked upon another performance of Music for 18 Musicians with Third Coast Percussion, Quince, and friends. It’s always magical to perform the piece – for me especially because I get to end the piece with a solo fade. That night I was really feeling it, taking my time fading out and anticipating the wave of silence that usually overwhelms the hall, but as I faded, instead of deafening silence I heard a deafening “snorrrrrrrrrre” followed by a harshly whispered, “WAKE HIM UP!” Which is a perfectly legitimate response, but the timing either could have been better or couldn’t have been better, depending on the effect you were going for.
We stuck to Burger King for the ride home, where we’ll be rehearsing for a week (at home, not at Burger King) before going to Genoa for pesto, foccacia and salami! (And a concert next Monday)