Posted by: Marie | March 16, 2010

(270) I hear the train whistling

Post #270
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 – 2pm]

Yesterday (Dec 1st), Sally, a local business owner and a member of the local Rotary Club asked me to do a 30-minute mini-concert on the piano for the Rotary’s Christmas luncheon scheduled for December 17th.

At first, I said “no”. My time is very limited right now and I really don’t have any pieces performance-ready.


Light the Heart Out by Martin Chen

But, Sally kept pressuring me, saying that it was for a good cause and for a good group of people . . . that it would be very casual and no big deal . . that it would be a great marketing opportunity. As we talked some more, I got the distinct impression that she was wanted me to provide background music while they were eating their lunch.

I decided I probably should do it . . . I figured I could pull together a collection of simple arrangements of Christmas music . . . because it was background music, it wouldn’t have to be concert quality material. I could pull together something simple in the two weeks between now and the luncheon.

So, I said I would do it.

I remember hearing myself say, “It will be fun!”

This morning (Dec 2nd), I called her to get all the details. That is when I learned it is not background music she wants . . . she wants a full-fledged concert, to be given after the dishes have been cleared from the tables . . . a concert with the full attention of the audience. They will be expecting a quality show.

It turns out that she has no experience with musical performances and she has no clue about the difference between background music and a full-fledged concert. She said, “Well, just play something, just anything, you know . . . you can surely do that without a second thought!”

Yeah, well, I have a second thought . . . and it involves a four-letter word.

But, I had already committed . . . and I keep my commitments. I decided I’ll find a way to make it happen . . . somehow.

Shame on me for not getting all the details before I committed. I’ve been a performer all my life . . . I’ve spent hundreds of hours on stage, speaking, teaching, playing piano, playing other instruments, singing, acting, etc. I know what it takes to manifest a quality performance.

I know better than to commit to doing a performance before getting all the details. I know better!

Oh, well. I’ll make it happen.

As we spoke a bit more, I learned that Sally thought there might be a Mr./Mrs. Santa Claus act performing, as well, during that 30 minutes. She wasn’t sure how long their act would be, so she wasn’t sure how much time she actually needed me to play . . . anywhere from ten to 30 minutes, she guessed.

Oh, and, she had met this couple back in October and they had had a conversation in passing . . . the couple agreed to perform for the Rotary luncheon, and she gave them the date, but she failed to get [real] names or contact information from them. So, she was hoping they would contact her soon because she had no way to get a hold of them to confirm the performance plans.

And, no, she wasn’t sure what they did in their act . . . maybe some storytelling, maybe some singing, she wasn’t really sure.

Oh, my. I see a train wreck coming.

I stressed to Sally the criticality of tracking down these performers as soon as humanly possible. I explained that we would need to coordinate the content and format of the performance so that it would flow smoothly and so we didn’t have any content conflicts (like performing duplicate selections – not such an impossibility in a Christmas performance).

Oh, and, I would like to know how much material I need to prepare . . . and, if we do a group sing-a-long, do Mr. and Mrs. Claus have recorded music or would I need to prepare accompaniment . . . ??

She responded: So, does stuff like that really matter? Can’t they do their stuff and you do your stuff? Why do you need to coordinate? Well, okay, if it is that critical, I’ll do everything I can to track them down.

Oh, yes, this is going to be one spectacular train wreck . . . reserve your seats early . . . I can hear the whistle blowing already . . .


  1. Rotary is a group of business people. I don’t think I’d be going near Sally’s business. Oy, what a lack of planning.

    • Amen, Evan! Those are my thoughts exactly!

  2. Oh…. My…

    • LOL, Ivory . . .

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