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Blue Ridge Parkway Recital: Reflections

It's been a few days since my recital on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so I wanted to post some reflections about the whole experience.

First, thank you to everyone who came! It was my first recital here in Asheville and I was really pleased with how it went, the turnout, my preparation, the program choices, and the weather.

HOW IT WENT: Once I had the permit from the BRP powers at be, it was incredibly easy! Just show up at the time allowed on the permit, and get the show on the road. When Chris and I got there, there were some people hiking and it was no problem at all to start setting up and warming up. Some guests got there veeerryyyy early, which made warming up kind of like a pre-performance for them (haha!), but they were totally fine with it. I so much enjoyed meeting new faces; there was a couple there from Alabama, even! We had some great conversations as I warmed up.

One thing: it was SO. COLD. I knew that going into an outdoor recital in late October on a mountain over 4,000 feet high that it might be chilly, but woof. My hands were so frozen by the end of the concert; if you were there or watched my Facebook live video, I had to blow on my hands in-between movements/pieces to try to warm them up. I even had to cut a few movements from the Bach suite just because there was no way my frozen little fingers were going to be able to execute them properly. Lesson learned for next time- bring hand warmers!

For the week leading up to the event, the forecast showed a huge amount of rain for the day of the recital. I was so worried that I would have to move it indoors- it would have been fine, but not the same- but thank goodness there was not a single cloud in the sky! It was so gorgeous up there. It really made it feel more magical than I could have expected, with the gorgeous leaves, cool air, smells of the forest and mountains, and music.

THE TURNOUT: For a recital that I only promoted online, I am super happy with the turnout! There were lots of people who had seen my event on various online platforms. I'll definitely be using them again in the future. I also plan on making posters next time!

One fun thing was that there were lots of people who stopped at the concert while hiking! Since it was in a public space and along a popular hiking trail, I expected some people to stop and listen. At one point there was a whole family with multiple children who stopped to listen while hiking down to the parking lot! It was so sweet! I just love that about outdoor concerts like this. I think it is one of the best ways to reach new audiences who might not have even ever considered going to a classical music concert.

MY PREPARATION: Not much to say here; I am very pleased with the amount of preparation I did for this recital. Since quitting all of my non-performing part-time jobs to focus on my solo career, I have really been flourishing as a musician. I am the happiest I've ever been with where I am in my career, and I can't wait to see where it takes me from here!

THE PROGRAM: I love these pieces! I wanted to keep it short since sunset was going to start at 6:49 that evening, and the concert started at 6. (I ended up starting at 6:05 since there was traffic on the parkway and some guests were trying to get there still.) Since it was outdoors in the mountains, I thought folk-inspired pieces like the Low How a Rose and Julie-O were totally perfect. Those also seemed to be the crowd favorites, too. I love recitals where the music is just as fun to play as it is to listen to!

Next recital I'd love to include some Irish/Scottish inspired solos as well as the classic Appalachian Waltz by Mark O'Connor. Once I have a venue and date, I'll definitely be posting that update to my website.

Cheers to a fun and successful recital! I can't wait for the next one!

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