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The passion of amateurs

What a disappointment to find that the art's guide had printed the wrong location for tonight's concert. I had looked forward to seeing a performance of Poulenc's piano duo. The orchestra was half-professional and half-amateur, but the soloists, I presume, must be professional.

Professional or not, the important thing is passion and talent. My friend's father, a retired professor but an active violinist and conductor, categorised people into four types, defined along the lines of knowing or not knowing music and being interested or not. Drop off those who don't know music and aren't interested in it. Those who know music and are interested are the amateurs. Those who know music and aren't interested are the professional (musicians). And those who don't know music but are interested are the connoisseurs.

I don't totally agree with this classification - because as an idealist, I would like to believe that the professional musician is one who is paid to do what he or she loves.

In front of friends, my father had once exclaimed about me,"ah but she's just an amateur." This had infuriated me at the time. Somehow "amateur" sounded like "doing it for fun but not knowing how to do it well." But over time, I've come to realise that "amateur" simply means "doing it not for money and not being paid for it."

On the way to the cinema, my friend and I stopped by Questor's Theatre where two plays were staged tonight. Which one should we see, I asked. "What the Butler Saw," suggested the man standing behind us. "My sister's in it."

Since there was only one ticket left for "Tartufo", we had to get tickets for the other show. Afterwards, I asked the man what his sister did for a living. "Some kind of secretary," he replied. Apparently, none of the actors got paid, for they were all amateurs. And I suspect, they probably had to pay for the coaching of a professional director, all for the love of performance.

23 March 2002 Saturday