Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. March 2015
Announcer Melissa walked into the spotlight in our auditorium with a 10-foot no-longer-used pole from our Aquatic Center. It had a large half-circle-hook at the top. She knocked the other end on the stage floor, for attention from the standing-room-only crowd. After welcoming everyone to the annual talent show, she warned, “If any performance goes beyond 10 minutes, I’m coming out.” She waved the pole back and forth horizontally, mimicking pulling someone backstage.
Laughter bounced off the walls! Then she announced that Helen W. and I were going to play duets of Verdi’s “March Militaire” from Aida and Handel’s “Largo” from Xerxes. Overwhelmed with applause, we were pleased with our performance. It was heartwarming during our final bow to see smiles from our encouraging neighbors of Woodland Court who sat together in row four to cheer us on. To our right, I spied our daughter, Melody, her hubby John and seven-year-old Hope in the row with my hubby, Chris.
A few acts later, I returned with Jane B. to perform what Melissa announced was “a very serious, classical duet called C. S. Theme and Variations, Opus 6, by Compton.” We bowed. I sat on the primo (right) side of the bench, Jane to my left. After playing eight bars of the classic Hungarian Rhapsody exchange of ta-dah, ta-ta-ta-dah…we directly exploded into a big sounding, fast Chopsticks. (Even kids and adults who don’t play piano seem to learn to play this in simple style!) Surprised, hilarious laughter and clapping kept us motivated! In our 15 pages we played very fast, very difficult, all-over-the-piano, 13 variations of Chopsticks.
BUT half-way through our routine, Jane plays fast, three octaves, of alternating hands of 16th note octaves progressing up the piano, edging me from my positon and off the piano bench. While I choreograph standing behind her to the audience, what am I supposed to do?…look at her just playing away, forgetting that I’m part of the performance, she continues with her inserted version of twinkling-lightly, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I pretend to tap her shoulder to say, I’m here, too, remember? She turns to recognize me and cues me to join playing with her again. She’s now occupying my right side of the bench. I quickly climb over the left end of the bench, and we take off playing. The music progresses louder and faster. Jane ends with a glissando (a swish on the keys to the right, with one finger) up the keyboard as she’s standing up to bow while I’m still at the piano. I stand to exit the right side of the bench swishing another loud glissando.
She’s already bobbing up and down when I finally join her to begin my bow. We carry on like the lady on the stage in The Sound of Music. We bow constantly, even encouraging more from the roaring audience until…you guessed it…announcer Melissa marches out onto the stage with her 10’ pole! We exit, waving with big smiles to a roaring audience for intermission.
P.S. The C. S. Variations stands for Chopsticks, written and dedicated to Victor Borge.
Footnotes: When we burst out playing Chopsticks, little Hope whispered slowly with puckered lips, “Mommie, why is everybody laughing at Granny?”
After the excited intermission with cookies and visiting, Hope told Daddy John, “I like seeing all the Grannies!”