Here I am in sunny Philadelphia, less than 24 hours after an amazing Tchaik 4 with Antonio Pappano, and Jo Watt’s great masterplan (for professional musicians to humiliate themselves for charity) Gradeone-athon has officially started for me.
I had heard about this incredible idea via Facebook and on settling for the flute (nice and compact and endless possibilities for swishing hair about) I was advised by the LSO’s resident blogger/author of must-have read The Show Must Go On (quick plug there!) and not least, one of our Principal Flutes Gareth Davies, to visit Hot Flutes near Waterloo. However intriguing the name, I had by now clocked I could purchase a flute that would well… be more… me.
I found said flute on the US Amazon store and sent a link to my bestie, the violinist Sarah Chang, that this would be turning up on her doorstep any day. Even though I had told her about the great project she was mightily confused.
“So this is just a flute case coming right?”
“Nope flute and some accessories too”
“Yeah but it’s like $100.. just the case right?”
“No the flute too”
“A real flute?”
“I’m hoping so!”
“Not a prop? ”
“Nope, a real humdinger of a flute”
“Jeez.. we learnt the wrong instruments Max. ..”
I did explain to Sarah that I doubted very much that anyone we knew in the profession/their students/their student’s students played on anything as bad as what was gonna turn up for me!
I flew away from cold London this week and on arrival at Sarah’s home tore into the package waiting for me – and what a beauty! Baby pink with gold keys! I’m toying with the idea of putting my initials in crystals on the head joint… how classy, ahem. Might as well try to blind the examiner when the time comes! Have I ever gotten this excited about the violin I wonder?!
I wasn’t sure what the white gloves were for. Gareth suggests they are to aid me in my new career in an American marching band. How do you march in 6 inch heels? Oh no matter, first things first, does it work?
My sister had toyed with the flute as a teen and had shown me how to play an A a good 20 years ago. So I was pretty thrilled that I managed to get the note out. (Anyone reading Sarah’s tweets about me flourishing scales from the likes of Carnival of the Animals please take with a shovelful of salt.)
She proceeded to write me an amazingly generous cheque, and coupled with two people I don’t know very kindly sponsoring me via Twitter, it’s all become very real now.
Tomorrow I had better search out the best “Flute for Dummies”/”Flute for Blingers” books or videos on YouTube.
Wish me luck and please sponsor me if you can. It’s for an amazing cause. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and who knows, there’s a Second Flute opening in LSO after all
Maxine is taking Grade 1 Flute as part of the Gradeoneathon, along with many other professional musicians, to raise money for Crossfire.
You can find out more about Gradeone-athon and donate to the charity on the website: http://www.childrenincrossfire.org/participate/fundraising/gradeoneathon
And watch this film to find out more about the charity the challenge is supporting in this video:
And have a look at the Facebook Group for more updates on the musicians’ progress: