Curiously enough, the atmosphere of tension and excitement is favorable to a good performance. -Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years
Luckily, tension and excitement abounded this week in my Philadelphia debut. Aside from having two concerts with completely different music, I also had to finish up my teaching for the semester, attend my wife’s ordination in Long Island, and prepare for our move to Manhattan this month! Tension and excitement indeed…
This time, the Fates brought me to West Chester University for another iteration of Alicia Hall Moran’s “Motown Project,” a highly original fusion of classical and Motown music that examines race and class vis-a-vis the American experience. The concert was for the West Chester Poetry Conference, one of the largest of its kind in the country. It was a multi-day affair and we closed out the week’s events. It’s an honor whenever I am surrounded by such talented musicians, and I can earnestly say that we really turned it on and ended up performing a truly unique, artistic, and downright moving set. The standing ovation we received was a welcome acknowledgement of our sweat (must have been 80 degrees in the theater at one point!), and it was a blast.
The next concert was a solo recital for Church of the Holy Trinity in the heart of Rittenhouse Square -the main park area in Philadelphia. It was in an absolutely gorgeous church sanctuary with unbelievable acoustics for guitar. For the first time in my life, I found myself in the rare predicament of actually having too MUCH music prepared for a recital. But, I feel that I’ve finally found a set of music that truly speaks to me on an emotional level, and this allowed me to fully “let go” and focus solely on expressing my love for these pieces. In short, I felt really “on” that day and was completely immersed in the moment. It’s a spectacular feeling. The audience was right there with me and it was a genuine pleasure to share an afternoon of art-making with everyone in that space.
Thank you Philly for such a warm welcome, you’ve won me over. Video from the recital will be coming in the next few weeks. Let me know what you think by clicking on the URL link below. -Thomas