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Ballard: Woes of a first-time recital

PAULETTE BALLARD
Guest Columnist

Alan Levins told me he inherited his mother’s piano, and he felt sad that no one was playing this beautiful instrument. He made a decision to take lessons himself.
“I had been taking lessons for three or four years when my teacher approached me about being in the yearly recital,” he said. “I had been asked to participate in the previous years, but I always declined because I was 55 years old and the only adult among the 50 students. Being on stage playing in front of an audience full of parents was not my cup of tea.
“This particular year, my piano teacher coerced me into taking part anyway. Each student had to play two songs. I had practiced religiously and knew both my songs very well. I was the 16th student to play the night of the recital.
“The recital was held in a beautiful church and the auditorium was full. There was a beautiful grand piano on the stage, which I had never played before. I found it a little difficult to think and I suppose I was somewhat intimidated. When it was my turn to play, I walked onto the stage, sat at the piano, looked down and I couldn’t remember a thing. I tried the first piece and I couldn’t even get started. I decided to switch gears and try my second piece.
“My brain blanked out again and I couldn’t remember this piece either. I was so embarrassed. I remember thinking if there was a trap door under my seat I would pull the rope and sink under the stage. I stood up and went back to my seat. My teacher gave me a certificate for participating in the recital anyway.
“On the way out there was a diminutive, gray haired lady whom I had not noticed before. As I reached the door to leave, she touched me on the back and said to me, ‘Well, there’s hope for me and my violin yet.’ I roared with laughter and we had a good laugh about our age and our trying to learn to play an instrument.”
Paulette Ballard collects interesting, funny and unusual stories from people in and around Lincolnton. If you have a story you would like to submit for her column, e-mail it to pballardnc1029@yahoo.com. In the subject line type “For your column.” Include your name and phone number for her to contact you.

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