Play it again, Anne!
I was playing "Miss Celie's Blues" from the movie The Color Purple, when I noticed a small crowd gathering around the piano. I looked to my right and looked down. A little girl of about age 2 or 3 was dancing to the music.
It was quite hilarious really. She was so engaged with the beat that she looked only at me and the piano. Meanwhile her parents and friends looked only at her, the tiny princess dancing by herself.
As I set about playing some more familiar pieces, I became aware that somebody was standing behind me listening intensively. This young man even turned the page for me!
What's going on tonight? There are so many parties, so many people. How could anyone possibly hear the piano?
Nonetheless, people gathered around. One couple rolled their suitcases to the sofa next to me. They turned to look at me. They clapped after every piece. They sat next to me to listen to me. And that was the only reason why they sat there.
"Can I buy you a drink?" asked the man.
"I'm fine," I replied. I can drink anything I want. It's all on the house. But it was the first time anyone has offered to buy me a drink here.
They had just checked in, to prepare for an early flight the next day. They thought it was such a good welcome, such good luck, to hear me play. They didn't expect live music at all.
"You must love music," the lady exclaimed.
"How can you tell?" I asked.
"The way you play. It seems as if you really love it."
Yes, I love it. How can I tell her that I've always loved it. And that it's a privilege to play on such a beautiful piano and to strangers from all over the world.
The way they sat and listened made me feel like a concert pianist. They applauded and commented on each piece. Do I know film music? The movie, The Piano? Yes, I do know it from memory, but I'll only play a little bit.
During my break, I walked over to the concierge desk. The concierge, an Irishman, had told me how much he enjoyed my music. He liked what I played yesterday, Enya and Danny Boy. I told him that one of the guests had come up to me and mentioned that he had never heard Enya played on the piano.
"Would you please play Danny Boy?" the concierge asked.
"But I've played it already tonight."
"Would you please play it again? For me?"
And so I did, more loudly, more deliberately, and with more emotion than before. Play it again, Anne!
11 January 2003 Saturday
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