Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Anticipated Day Arrived

I live for the annual talent show. I start seriously planning for it at least 6 months in advance, and give next year's performance thought even the day after I just finished the last performance. "Do you wait a whole day," Joy quips. "Joy knows her husband." What a pity the ward and the stake don't have a talent show anymore! Waa!

Thankfully, before we left the Branch, I got myself a Go Directly to Boardwalk card. So when the Branch held their talent show on Friday, Derrill was ready.

I had one of the silliest ideas I think I've developed. I gathered several instruments that I cannot play, read up on their history, development, and -oh yes - how to play them ... and gave myself almost no practice time. I announced one of my favorite grad school lines: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice there often is. This would be a test of whether almost-pure theory could overcome total lack of practice.

"He just wanted to be like Professor Harold Hill" - the Think system. As I described the idea to Joy in September, I wondered which songs I should play. I started suggesting that I could start with this one song and then transition to another, and so on. Then Joy turned to me in the car and said, with that special look in her eye, "You actually think you can pull this off, don't you??"

I didn't get near the time I intended for studying theory, sadly. But I got just as little practice time as I could! I borrowed a guitar and an accordion on Saturday and Hyrum was kind enough to loan me a harmonica that he got for his birthday Monday night.

With about 15 minutes' practice on the guitar, 7 on the harmonica, and close to a half-hour on the accordion, I played and song a parody of "Ghost Riders" on the guitar; "Praise to the Man" on the harmonica, and "I Heard the Voice of Jesus" on the accordion. I also sang the rendition of "Popcorn Popping" I came up with one night for Hyrum done in a blues style.

I also told everyone, this would either be a demonstration of musical talent, or an opportunity to see me fall flat on my face. Either way - it should be fun. In fact, in the dress rehearsal that morning, I flubbed pretty badly. The performance went pretty well. I was quite pleased. I could tell what sections really needed a bit more practice, but I got through all the songs with major mishap, got some laughter, and the MC asked for a second round of applause for me. Pres. Horrocks, when he saw me later today, had to comment again that it took a lot of guts.

At one point, my fevered brain had imagined turning on a techno song ("I Can Walk on Water" by Basshunter) and playing that same song on guitar, accordion, bagpipe, and piano on each verse, including singing AND dancing. It looked really cool in my mind. But you can't get a bagpipe in Ithaca, and it turns out (from my studies) that you have to use a practice bagpipe chanter first to teach you proper breath control and fingering. Actually, the music store people laughed at me when I asked if they had a bagpipe for rent.

Thanks to everyone who loaned me their instruments! Thanks to Joy for giving me time to practice and useful pressure to keep my practice time limited, and to Hyrum for cheering "Again!" after each song. I love my little critic

Someone was taking video. If you happen to know who, please let me know so I can get a copy.


Shari said...

Wow, that sounds cool! I wish I could have seen it.

Grandma Jule said...

If you ever *do* find a copy of the video, I'd LOVE to get a copy, too!

Grandma Jule said...

Just one question -- if neither your ward nor your stake participates in talent shows any more - - - WHERE DID YOU FIND A TALENT SHOW to be part of?

D. Watson said...

As I mentioned, I stowed away aboard the branch's talent show.