Last Friday we tried something new for the society (or at least new for ME in the society). I sent an invitation out that read in part:
An utterly informal get together to meet, greet and chat within the society. If you would like to bring your guitar and show something you are working on, by all means. If you do not, then don’t feel any pressure.
We ended up with 7 guitarists sitting around my living room. We started the evening with some wine and snacks, but then the “real business” of the evening got started. A guitar was taken out, a song was played and it was passed from member to member until it got around the room. There was some Villa-Lobos, some Tarrega, some Lauro, and a lot of appreciative applause.
A couple of things became apparent immediately.
I suppose the first is that we have some really good guitarists in the society! More importantly I think, was that people wanted to share, they wanted practice playing in front of people, not just practicing in a room all alone.
The next was the sheer joy of playing that was in everyone’s face. I swear that for some of the players, had I turned off the lights, their smiles would have lit up the room. I think one of the paradoxes of classical guitar is that players need to spend a lot of time alone practicing – practicing drills, practicing pieces that are already memorized to keep from forgetting, practicing new pieces that are not quite there yet. The one type of practice that is not done enough is practicing in front of other people because the opportunities are not there so readily.
The music circled the room several times more. Some folks played duets they had been working on. I think I heard some samba and some Hot Tuna. There was more Villa-Lobos and some Llobet. At the start of the evening I wondered if anyone would show up and it they would have fun. At the end, the music kept going until it was well past my normal bedtime. There seemed to be a desire to hold on to what was happening.
I think the best comment of the evening was when one of our members, on the way out the door, said “this was a pretty good turnout, considering that this was the first one of these.” I guess that puts me on notice to have another.