Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Concert Prep - or How I Am Prepping for my Once In A Lifetime Concert Gig.

     In one month, I'm going to be performing Bach's Sonata in E flat and Rutter's Antique (as well as some other selections) in the church hall as part of our parish's concert series. These are pretty rigorous pieces.

The Bach I studied in high school.  It's surprising how much of it stuck with me. Re-learning it was more like watching an old favorite movie or re-reading a favorite book. There were parts I remembered and definitely parts I had forgotten. But overall it really was like riding a bike again. I think it came back to me quickly and now I'm just working on tempo.

The Rutter, on the other hand, was all new to me. I had heard it performed last year but I never played it myself. The harpsichordist I am playing with really wanted to do it because it was specifically written for harpsichord accompaniment. I've been working on it since June.

What I don't want to do is stress out. I'm the kind of person who tends to freeze at the difficult parts and choke. So my current plan is to play all of the difficult parts every day, and play the entire program standing up at least a few times per week. When I stand up there to play I want to feel so confident that I can do this that I won't have the need to feel nervous.

Can I do that? My daughter says no. But I used to get really nervous with public speaking. Now I get a little excited but the nerves go away as soon as I start. I also don't get nervous playing with a group or even playing solo parts with an ensemble. So perhaps one of the benefits of being a musician of a certain age is that the type of nerves that made my hands shake is a thing of the past. Maybe just being thoroughly prepared will alleviate much of that. We shall see.