Monday, January 27, 2014

My Musical Family Recital - the Encore!

The inaugural My Musical Family recital was such fun two years ago, I don’t know why it took us so long to revive it. But revive it we did, in lively fashion last evening, with the help of two other musical families: our friends Michael and Shari and their daughter Sophie; and Steve’s sister Beth, her husband Hans, and their kids Hannah, Franny and Zach.

Fortunately, they all live within walking distance. A third musical family was unable to come due to the stupid blizzard conditions. We missed you, Owen, Myrna, Rose and Ryan!

I came up with the idea of having a recital as a way of honoring my great-grandparents, G. Oliver and Islea Riggs, who were both accomplished musicians. They used to perform regularly at gatherings in people’s homes back in the days before TV, iPads, radio and talking movies. Imagine that!

It seemed like a tradition worthy of resurrecting. Also, it seemed like a good way to motivate members of my family, myself included, to take the time to practice a piece of music we enjoy playing, or one that might even be a bit challenging. It can be nerve-racking to perform in front of an audience – even a small one made up of friendly faces – but it also feels good to occasionally be jolted out of one’s comfort zone, especially in the depth of winter.

During the recital, I read from my book in progress and performed a piano piece.
Having the event last night was the perfect way to forget about the cold for a while. We started with a meal: two types of chili, served with a spinach salad, soda bread and cornbread muffins. Then, we commenced with the recital.

I opened by reading a scene from my book in progress, in which G. Oliver and his fellow Montana Cowboy Band members take part in a “shoot-up” at the Minnesota State Capitol in 1917 during the St. Paul Winter Carnival.
Musical numbers included Michael and Shari performing on ukuleles, Elias on piano, Seb on trumpet and Sophie on piano.

Elias on piano
Seb on trumpet, playing the theme from Monk
Sophie on piano
I got so caught up in enjoying the performances, I forgot to record most of them, but I did take a video of one of the last numbers: Steve, Louisa and Sebastian performing “Barton Hollow” by the Civil Wars.

Once the nerve-racking part was over, we all enjoyed the icing on the cake of the evening’s enjoyments – some delicious frosted tuxedo cake from CakeWalk.

Friends, food, music and cake. It doesn’t get much better than that. I can’t wait for the next recital!


  1. We are so sad we missed the My Musical Family Recital but are glad we stayed home and off the roads.

    We have our song all ready to sing for the next recital! I'd be happy to host one sometime.

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