I get asked that question a lot. Well, the quick answer is, I actually don’t want to. They are wonderful, but they are tiring. I get totally worn out. And I need recovery time. Time to do not-much. Time to see friends. Time to walk a dog-that-doesn’t-belong-to-me, or practise yoga.
I thought I’d list what goes on before a St James concert. I’ve chosen this one because it’s where most of my concerts are.
- During the day, everything at home is put in a big pile. I’ve practised everything I need to do, and polished the cello. Bit antsy, but ok.
- Drive to the venue about 3 hours before the concert. Still antsy.
- Get everything into the venue – cello, stools, lights, wine, tablecloths – you name it, it’s loaded in.
- Move all the pews around and count the number of seats we have to put out.
- Sweep the floor.
- Set up the bar. Put the wine in the fridge. Check all the glasses are clean. Set out the tablecloths, snacks etc.
- Set up the CD table. Still antsy.
- Get the programs and list of people that are coming and set up the ‘check -in table’.
- Wash the chairs.
- Hang black-out curtains.
- Put up signs so that people don’t barge in before they open the doors (yes. It happens. I’ve had huge number of excuses….).
- Check all the right lights are turned on (or off) for the start of the gig.
- Get dressed. Start to get calmer.
- Check with all helpers that they are ok and know what to do. Realise most things are done now, and calm down even more.
Then I can get ready to play. Now, I have help that makes things easier – and I so appreciate it. But that all goes on before I can sit at a cello to warm up. On Saturday night, after the second one gig, the entire thing is reversed. So not only am I emotionally drained from whatever it is I’m playing (because I don’t seem to play unless my heart is on my sleeve!), I’m also physically worn-out too.
The Sunday after two St James concerts I lie pretty low. Try and dig in the garden. Noodle around the house and listen to records. Eat some good food.
And it’s enough for me. How long will I keep doing it? Not sure. At the moment, it’s fine. There’ll come a time where it’s not fine, and I’ll stop.
But not just yet.