|Rhonda - Guild Concert 2002|
How I got started with the Piano Guild is an interesting story. First, I do not play the piano but enjoy very much classical and jazz piano. About 20 years ago, I read in our local newspaper that there were classical piano concert at one of our resort hotels every Sunday. Not at all sure what to expect I dressed in my best “Sunday go to meeting outfit" and gave it a try. Attempting to be as inconspicuous as possible, I arrived just as it was starting, sat in the back and at the end made a quick exit. I loved the elegant venue - a large bar/living room setting. The music was delightful and so relaxing.
The next Sunday I returned. All attempts to be inconspicuous failed this time with the event almost sold out and standing room only. Jean, the lovely woman in charges of tickets, remembering me for the previous week, invited me sit for free at her entry table and listen from there. We really got along great and at her insistence, she introduced me to all the members and invited me to join the Guild - I did. My natural inclinations took over and I ask how I could help? The next Sunday I was working at the entry table with Jean. After, I helped put away chairs and collected the printed programs left behind. Hooked I was.
It was not long before I was going out to dinner with the Guild president John, Jean and the concert artist of the day. I was meeting wonderful intelligent and fun people. To my absolute astonishment, I was accepted as I appeared and had that lovely “fitting in” feeling. I volunteered further and during the week was working the computer, running mail merges and formatting the newsletter. I was invited to joined the board of directors a few years later.
Our venue did changed to an upscale in-the-round downtown theater and the concerts became monthly. Because of our membership we began to attracted international artist preparing for major piano competitions. I was promoted from ticket sales to guest/member greeter and event photographer. Shown are several of my beautiful photographs.
There is one funny story: On this evening our featured artist was a nationally known blind concert pianist. Someone suggested that we invite with free tickets, students and residents from our local “Lighthouse for the Blind”. We got word that about 20 would come by van and it was my job that evening to greet and seat the group near the front. The word went out that the van had arrived.
That evening I had chosen to wear an especially beautiful dress that was maybe just a "little" low cut. Taking very serious my duty “to great”, the Guild president and I position ourselves at the theater elevator door. The door opened and one of our, not too tall, cane feeling his way, guest took one step toward me. That one-step now positioned his nose about three inches for the valley of my décolletage. Without any hesitation and without looking up, he said, “You are pretty”.
After we all stopped laughing and regained our composure, I helped my new boyfriend's group to their seats. What a wonderful and fun memory.
I will write more about some of my other fun Piano Guild experiences later. Overall, I am so happy I made the effort to get out that first summer Sunday. The wonderful music, memories the friendships are priceless.