I wasn't looking forward to the competitions as I hadn't really done much practice leading up to it due to uni and everything, and was sure I was going to screw up and embarrass myself in front of everyone. This year really should've been the pinnacle of my 'accordion playing life' as my original plan was to compete at these competitions with the aim to later compete at the World Championships being held in Auckland later this year. Because I haven't been able to practise as much lately though with uni getting so intense, my goal of competing in the world championships has well and truly evaporated. I suppose once I graduate if I'm motivated enough, still young and have money I could try compete in it somewhere overseas...
What made things worse for my championship preparation was the night before after youth group I was playing soccer with the guys, and as goalie I was trying to stop the ball flying in, and as I jumped to tip it over the goal my fingers got bent backwards slightly. That didn't hurt so much but later that night at home I was starting to feel muscle strain...in my hands! I guess I haven't been doing much exercise lately! I had a go at playing the accordion a few times that night and my fingers were so stiff! Before I went to bed I tried looking for some cream to rub on my hands. Apparently Deep-Heat would work, but I couldn't find any, so I just used Vicks, and surprisingly in the morning my hand felt as normal as ever!
Hamish was performing first on Saturday morning and so my dad took him there to perform while I practised in the morning. The plan was that Aonghas and my mum would go to the wedding while I performed at the competitions, and as soon as I finished we'd go straight to the wedding.
I got to the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar School where the competitions were held, and did my best to see if I could perform first, but I was told the playing order had already been drawn and it'd be unfair to the other competitors. I was just going to have to play 3rd.
It wasn't so bad, as even though each competitor's programme was about 10-15 minutes, it was about 2pm when it was time for me to perform. My programme consisted of two sonatas, Sonata in G Minor by Scarlatti and Sonata in B Minor by Tchaikin. I almost forgot the names of the pieces on stage!
My performance got off to a shakey start as I battled with the nerves, but I started to gain control, even though I made a few slips throughout. I came to the end of my piece, finished it and took my hand off the keyboard expecting applause, but there was none! Did the audience not realise I had finished my first piece? I was trying to think of some way to make it more obvious that I had finished, but it was getting a bit awkward so I decided just to start on my next piece. My accordion teacher later told me that when he noticed no one was clapping, he was about to start clapping for me but saw me about to play the next piece!
The second sonata, Sonata in B Minor, which was almost ten minutes long, was the piece I was most worried about. I haven't been able to play it from beginning to end without stuffing up, and so forget making it sound like music I just wanted to get through it! OK I did still stuff up a few times but at least I didn't embarrass myself majorly! I ended up coming third so that wasn't as bad as I predicted it would be.
As soon as I was done, my dad and I made a quick getaway to church to attend the wedding. I took my accordion into church with me to put into a spare room and some people were looking at me weirdly, wondering what was going on! I managed to make it to the beginning of the wedding and sneaked in to sit in the back row.
This was the second wedding I had attended for the year, and it was pretty cool. This time I was actually going to be involved in this one! After the couple shared their vows, exchanged rings and kissed, they signed the book on stage and as they did that Aonghas performed the violin with one of the church members on piano. Once they were done, we joined the 'Angels Choir' which was made up of these little girls from church to sing a couple of songs, one which involved waving ribbons.
Aonghas and I were standing at the back, and because we were the only two guys singing with a group of girls, our voices were quite low compared to theirs. When the songs went up high my voice got a bit quivery which was not too great! It was good fun though. One of the girls in our youth group told us that when she first saw us performing, she remarked
"I'd rather commit suicide than perform up there!"
not realising she was sitting next to our dad! But she swears she loves us haha.
After the wedding we went into the big hall for food. A few of the guys and I were scoping the field checking to see if there were any nice girls out there (sadly not haha ... nah I'm just joking) while hovering around the tables eating food when we were asked to serve some heart-shaped donuts to people. It ended up turning into a competition to see who could hand out all their donuts the fastest! Let's just say I didn't win. Everyone had a donut before I could get there!
Back to the accordion competitions, it continued the following day (Sunday). Aonghas was to perform and us three Anderson brothers were performing our trio straight after. I was going to stay long enough to try out the SLR camera and try take some photos of Aonghas but I ran out of time and had to go to the waiting room for the trio!
As a trio we were performing 'The Magnificent Seven', the theme song to this old western TV show/movie (I'm not entirely sure...), and so we decided to wear cowboy hats just to be different. I had to rearrange an accordion orchestral arrangement of this piece for accordion trio, so I'm sure it didn't sound quite like it was meant to, but our performance wasn't too bad! Straight after, one of the organisers had asked us to perform at the afternoon 'Farewell' Concert, sorta like the concert to showcase selected winners.
The results were announced, with Aonghas and our trio coming first in our respective classes! I think that makes it nine years in a row we've won the accordion trio class now!
We had about four hours to spare before the afternoon concert, my dad and us three brothers went to Burger King in Newmarket for lunch. In the middle of lunch our accordion teacher texted us to tell us that they wanted Aonghas to perform as well! We went home straight after to try convince our mum to attend, which we managed to do!
The concert wasn't too bad, but our trio didn't perform as well as our first performance in the morning. Hamish came in a bar too early but fortunately regained himself. We avoided a near disaster! Jessica Chen, my main accordion rival entered the top NZ Accordion Championship Class this year and....came first!! Go Jessica! She was really impressive. I entered the class below since I wasn't as prepared as I would've liked to have been, and I also didn't have enough music to play for the second year in a row!
So in the end I managed to make it to both with the results not being so bad. We also got to have a photo with the accordion 'world cup'! If you can't win it, get a photo with it!
It was a temporary distraction from studies and assignments, so now the focus is all back on that!