Saturday, April 25, 2009

Princeton sites and sights

I'm back from two long days of judging over forty students and their end of the year piano exams. They are really called guild auditions; students are auditioned to become a member of the guild of pianists across the country. The national piano playing auditions are held around the world, usually in the spring and last year over 125,000 students participated. My audition site had everyone but one pass. That's another story.

The pianos left something to be desired. Both pianos should have been tuned before this event. The upright (ahem) was in very bad shape, and the littlest children couldn't reach the floor. The bench was loose and squeaked. One of the precious discovered this immediately and began rocking inbetween each piece while I was trying to write. Finally she asked me if I heard her. I said yes, wasn't it funny? And she replied, "You're a nice lady. This would drive my mother CRAZY".

Who should complain about a grand piano? Well, when the hammer action is loose, the pedals are not adjusted, and the middle is extremely bright from their praise band keyboard stints, I can't help be wonder if there's any good instrument in town? I'm sure there is, somewhere.

I had folding tables and hard chairs. I liberated a chair pew at around ten a.m. each day because I don't know if my back would have been very happy with me. It is a reminder to me to have a great seat for our judge.

Because of a wedding at church number one, we had to move to church number two. Across the street from church number one was this cute little "gingerbread" house; I guess everyone in Princeton refers to it that way. Not knowing that I asked the chair if the city owned the gingerbread house, and she wondered whether I knew it was really referenced that way? It does look like frosting doesn't it?

And "up north", as northern Minnesota is called, you'll see signs for wild rice dotting the landscape. They usually sell rice in pristine condition, plus bags for less money that are rice pieces, not whole. I don't mind either. After I soak it to get some of the wild flavor out of it, I usually mix it with long grain white rice or make soup. This sign was unusual because of its second option. I didn't stop to buy any, although I was curious. Would you try it?


  1. Sounds like it was an interesting trip. Pheasant sausage? I'm not sure if I would try it. Maybe a bite of someone else's. Cute gingerbread house.

  2. Judging for the guild is grueling and exhausting, but also occasionally exhilerating. I've did it for several years around the DC area and also out in California. I really like the idea of it, but they don't allow enough time for much more than superficial comments. Some of those kids (and teachers) need a lot more than that. It is interesting to hear an entire studio all in a row because you really get a good idea of their teacher's areas of focus and sometimes neglect.

    I've played shows up in northern Minnesota and one place gave us each a package of wild rice as a souvenir. It's really good with dried cherries mixed in. Weird, but good.

  3. I've did it again - forgot to proofread.


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