Sunday, July 27, 2008

Perth episode two: WE WON!

I've only got a short amount of time on the computer at Perth airport (our flight back to Melbourne has been delayed - boring!) so this is a short post about the overwhelming events of last night.

We came to Perth to perform in the Putting on an Act festival at PICA, seeing it as a good opportunity to showcase our work. After our performance on Friday night, we were told that we had been selected for the "best-of" program on Saturday night. It was amazing for us to have so many people enjoy and believe in our work, and we were stoked to have the opportunity to perform again. The only problem was, we had no harpsichord! I had organised the hire of a harpsichord from WAAPA, but received a phone call from them a few days ago telling me that there had been a double-booking, and the opera company was promised the instrument for Saturday night. I wasn't worried about that originally, as I didn't think that we'd be performing on the final night...

So there were many, many phone calls made yesterday to assorted members of the small early music fraternity in Perth, to no avail. At our 2:30pm sound-check we developed what we called the "plugged" version of the piece, with an electronic keyboard wired into the sound system and lots of reverb - very different from our restrained baroque-minimalism of the night before.

We were a bit anxious before the performance, having to deal with a different sound and completely different touch on my part. I normally listen a lot to the acoustics of my instrument as I play, and respond to the sound-waves coming from the strings. Not having any sound at all near me, and having to rely on what came from the overhead speakers had me a bit nervous.

Once I walked out on to the stage, though, and played the first few notes, I knew that it was going to be fine. The theatre was full, and the audience warm and enthusiastic. As soon as the last note died away we were greeted by a wall of clapping and cheering. I was overwhelmed by the response, and really moved that people loved our work so much.

Afterwards, it took us about 20 minutes to get to the bar to get a drink, we were continually stopped and congratulated by people who loved the combination of harpsichord and voice. Finally, red wine in hand, I relaxed for a moment, only to have us announced as the winners of the inaugural City of Perth Award for Most Innovative Act! The rest of the night was a bit of a blur of thank-yous, congratulations and posing for photographs...

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