Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tuesday Evening Concert

I heard her outside the window, stating in her best dramatic fashion, "She's not here, Daddy."

Who could resist? I opened the side door and said that indeed I was here, and would she like to come in?

She graciously acceded, informing me that she had come to play the piano.

J is one of my favourite Nilgiris people. She is intelligent and charming and funny. She loves pink. She mostly loves her big brothers and sisters. She has a mind and a will of her own: she knows which teacup she wants ("the dog one") and which tea she enjoys ("the pink one"). When she comes for tea with her family she always tracks me down to give me a hug before she finds a seat. When she leaves, she wonders aloud whether she should take an extra chocolate Ovation for the brother or sister who couldn't come on this particular visit. She likes to share scones and clotted cream with her mommy. Where the occasion demands it, she likes to let her daddy know who's boss; agreement is usually reached after a little bit of dramatic flouncing about and pretend petulance (on J's part, not Don's!) and then she wraps her arms around his neck and says, "I'm sorry, Daddy," and all is well again ...

J and her dad were on a bike ride when she decided she'd like to stop in at the TH. So in she came and scrambled confidently up onto the piano bench. She studied the music intently for a few moments, and then said, "I'm going to play this one," and away she went. I think Ludwig would have been surprised but charmed at this entirely new interpretation of Minuet in G. All the octaves were given their due, with strong, full-throated chords in the bass encouraging and balancing the frivolous flights of fancy that her right hand seemed determined to follow.

We talked about the piano and how the notes were structured. She asked why the notes in the middle were so loud and the notes at the top and the bottom were so soft. I speculated that perhaps it is because there are just so many notes in the middle that they have to be louder to be heard and to stand out in the crowd. But the notes at the low end of the scale are like hearing a baby lion purr or growl, while the notes at the high end are like a whisper -- you lean forward and really listen to hear them because they are so important that you don't want to miss a thing they are saying. That they really don't need to be loud when they have something to say.

My tiny pianist leaned slightly forward and gently pressed the highest note on the piano, the delicate, eloquent C. She paused for a moment and then nodded solemnly, once.

The music ended a few minutes later with a magnificent glissando; and, hopping off the bench, she went to the little fridge under the counter to get Ovations for her dad, herself and me -- and for her brother Isaiah Alexandre. What a fitting end to this delightful concert! I was so glad I had heard her inimitable little voice outside my window.

I am confident that -- thanks both to her great personal courage and confidence, and to the incredible love and support of every member of the remarkable family she belongs to and is an integral part of -- J's voice will stand out in the midst of the chattering of the more commonly heard notes in the middle of the keyboard. May she always have something to say. May she always be heard.

Brava, J! Encore!

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