Every four years my city, Cowtown (otherwise known as Fort Worth), becomes Pianotown!  The Van Cliburn International Competition is hosted at Bass Hall in our very own downtown.  Bass Hall is a beautiful venue and this year they even turned the crosswalks into pianos outside the hall.

It is one of my favorite things about living here!  During the last competition I was lucky enough to get on the list of page-turners for the competition.  Most of the repertoire must be memorized, but the competitors are allowed page-turners for the quintet performance, and the performance of the commissioned work which they only have about 2 months to learn.  I am a page-turner again this year.  So far turned pages for Ilya Shmukler for the commissioned work in the preliminary round.  But, before the competition began I got a very unique volunteer opportunity.  I got an email sent out to the page-turners saying,

We will need a pianist to play onstage at Bass Hall for sound and video checks on May 24 at around 6pm. This could take 2-3 hours, and simply requires you to play whatever you want on one of our performance pianos onstage for that period of time.

I jumped on this as soon as I could!  Two to three hours onstage at Bass Hall playing one of the performance pianos.  And playing anything I wanted, how could I pass this up?  It turns out they also needed me for a bit the following morning.  Now this was nothing like a real performance, people were moving all around setting up lights and cameras.  Shouting directions for the lights, measuring the light in front of my face with strange little meters.  All kinds of distractions going on!  But, it definitely was a surreal experience to sit on that stage and play.  And the piano was wonderful of course.  Here’s a few photos I snapped while at the piano:

Looking out from the stage


Another view from the stage


One of the beautiful Steinways available to the competitors

If you are not following the competition already you can tune-in through Medici TV for a lifestream of all the concerts.  The online streaming is being hosted by Greg Anderson and Liz Roe of the Anderson and Roe piano duo and they are doing a fantastic job!  The Semi-finals finish up today and the finals begin Wednesday. It’s going to be an exciting week here in Pianotown!

Author: Spring

Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.