Our auditions are over for the year. (!) Everything went smoothly. That alone could constitute a success. I could take a picture of the audition site for you, but have you noticed that many churches are used for piano related events? I haven't blogged long, yet there are many pictures of sanctuary interiors.
The church as a host site is a mixed blessing. Some of them offer piano teachers a reduced fee for use. Sometimes if you're a member of the church it's free. Other churches' charges are quite high for the janitorial and piano tuning fees. They will have rules about every detail right down to no colored punch as it may stain the carpeting. I understand that the rules they have in place are an unfortunate reminder that something has run amok in the past. The renter (piano teacher) signs a form that they understand the rules wherein and any breach thereof shall constitute damage payments, yadda yadda.
There is a music store about twenty minutes from my studio that has an auditorium. The rental is free (FREE), and there are always at least two grand pianos on its stage. The store is happy to have potential clients wandering in. They may buy music today and make a contact for tomorrow. They welcome the recitalists at the beginning of the recital and mention the sales they have going on. The store schedules events one year out which I believe is very generous, however, I've never been able to get a recital booked for spring. There are probably two hundred teachers or more, that are clammering for this space. According to the piano manager who is also the scheduler, teachers call him the day after this year's recital to book next year.
I did get into the auditorium there for a winter recital once but my students rebelled loudly. It was the biggest dilemma I've had ever had about a recital! That's right, friends, we could not have treats in the store! "What?", they moaned. "No cookie! Are you serious?" You would have thought the world was ending. I learned a very valuable lesson about what my studio expects of a recital. It was so cute.
We have an arrangement with our audition site because it's a Wolf Piano Studio instrument. I put the Yamaha grand in this church in memory of my father-in-law. I, in turn, get to use their facility for recitals and all week for guild auditions. The church maintains the instrument but has this gorgeous baby for their worship services weekly. We both believe we have the better end of the deal which is exactly how it should be.
The trick to using a church is the nebulous "other" things that happen. The sanctuary may often be freezing cold because they only turn on the heat for their worship days. Likewise I've sweated my way through some spring guild auditions when there was no air conditioning and stained glass windows did not open!
The only potential calamity this year was avoided. Usually our guild is held one week earlier. For whatever reasons known in Austin, Texas, our site was given this week instead. Yesterday morning, my cell phone rang and it was the church office. "The church ladies are in a quandry about going into the sanctuary." Yes, the administrative assistant called them "the church ladies".
It turns out that this was a communion week. The first and third Sundays of the month the altar guild sets up communion in the back of the altar to be ready for Saturday evening and Sunday morning mass. They pour wine into individual servings, make ready the table, iron the linens and we were probably not going to like them tinging cups and chatting away in the back. We worked out a compromise that they could come in early on Saturday morning. I brought in donuts.
Tomorrow is our end of the year recital which will take place in the same space. Maybe I will take a picture, it is a lovely environment. We will have great music, celebrate our year's successes, honor winners from contest, theory, and exams, and all the guild certificates and pins will be lauded. Then we will eat treats and drink gingerale or clear soda. And I will breathe a deep sigh with a smile. I am a person who loves the rhythm of the piano year. There is a deep ebb and flow that matches the music for which we are reaching, striving, and growing.