Friday, July 27, 2018

Mile of Music and Me - Part I - Getting Ready

I have been presented with an amazing opportunity!  My good friends Tyler and the Streeters will be performing at the upcoming Mile of Music Festival right here in Appleton, WI....and I've been asked to perform a song with them on my flute! There have been various degrees of excitement and nerves since the plan for me to perform solidified on Monday, July 23rd.  As I write this, I have a week to be ready for Chadwick's....on a Friday night...during the biggest Music Festival of the Year in this area.  We'll also be playing at the Art Alley. Last year, 70,000 people attended this festival which is held in various locations throughout downtown Appleton.  This is a big deal and I am so honored to be a small part of it! Scroll down for links and schedule

Many of you are probably wondering how this even happened.  Let me tell you a little story:

Once upon a time I was telling my friends Tyler Streeter and Taylor Greenwood why I chose Treble as my road / artist name.  Here's what I told them: I have a background in music.  I graduated from the Armed Forces School of Music and was in the Army band for a time before I went Signal Corp.  I've played flute since I was in 5th grade. I play a little for fun every now and then but no longer in public.  I've closed that chapter. Tyler's reply was that before the end of this year, I would play with the band.  I initially thought he was joking.  At the time, a flute would be overpowered by the bass, drums, trumpet, trombone, saxophone and electric guitar that makes up the band.  None of the songs contained a flute part. Also, I haven't played flute for anyone other than my husband in 30 years and the one that I have he picked up for $50 at a garage sale. Tyler remained determined anyway. Even after he spoke with me earlier this year and I still declined, he posted on Facebook that before the end of the year was out I would perform with the band.  I responded with "I'll need some sheet music" and then didn't think about it again. Then, I ran into Renee who plays trumpet and trombone and sings in the group. She told me that Tyler had written some new material and that one of the songs had a flute part in it.  She also mentioned that there was a possibility of me performing in Mile of Music.  She was going to get the notes from Tyler, write it out for me and send it in Facebook Messenger.  A few weeks went by with no word, so I figured they went in a different direction.  That was until Monday when I received the music and a time for the next band rehearsal!

After practicing for an hour or two each day since Monday (with a skip on Thursday since time wouldn't allow for it) I think I've got it! I sent a recording to Tyler and he is pleased. I've played for a some friends and family and they all think that I've got this.  I still need to practice to be sure and to build up my breath control and embouchure.

Some steps I am taking to gain the confidence to do this:

 First Step - Learn the part.  I can do a passable job on this but more practice will improve my tone and breath control and help keep nerves away.  The more I know it, the better I will do because I will have that confidence.  I know the notes of what I'm to play for the song for Mile so I will also practice some Disney favorites from the Big Book of Disney my husband gave me. This will prevent driving my family crazy listening to the same song 20 times in one day.

Second Step - Get out of my own way.  I tend to overthink which causes me to be nervous...What if I hit a wrong note in front of all those people? I haven't played in public for 30 years; will I be able to play anything at all?  Will I get my tone to sound alright? I know what I'm capable of and I'm not there yet because what I'm capable of took years of constant practice. I was kind of freaking out on Monday and Tuesday.  But I was just excited enough to keep going.  And when someone writes a part for you, you play it.  Besides, even though it was eons ago, I have played several solos before crowds before. I spoke with a fellow performer about how to combat the nerves.  She told me that having the courage to get on stage puts me on whole different level....and to have a glass of wine before I go on.  Tyler has told me to just have fun. So I plan on concentrating on that.  I love this festival.  I have volunteered for it.  When it's here I practically live downtown.  Now I get to be a part of it in a whole new way.

Third Step - Look the part.  Today my stepmom who is a wonderful mom to me took me shopping for my outfits to wear onstage.  I wanted something special that makes me feel and look like I belong on that stage.  It also needed to be flattering for my plus size body. Today we accomplished that goal.  All I need is some make up and I'll be good to go.

Fourth Step - Rehearsal with the band. These steps I've been able to do on my own but the next really big step is to get together with the band and rehearse.  This is on Sunday.  I'll do another blog post and let you know how my first rehearsal in 3 decades goes!

Here are some links and a schedule for you:

Tyler and the Streeters

Mile of Music

When we're playing:

Chadwick's:  Friday, August 3rd @ 6:30 - 7:20pm

Art Alley:  Saturday, August 4th @ 4:10 - 5:00pm

We'll probably also do Mile of Music bus and some street performances.

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