Thursday, February 26, 2009

Guitar Life: concert tour - first impressions

This concert tour was exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. The 6 concerts I played in SC, NC and TN were a great success and truly motivational. It was the 'highest density' tour I've attempted to date - during one stretch (3/18- 22) I did 4 concerts in 5 days, each in a different city.

I will have a more detailed post up when my pictures and reviews come in, but in short, I just wanted to mention that this concert tour reaffirmed me, and I feel spiritually refreshed and awakened. I feel a renewed ambition to improve myself as a musician and do more touring and recording. I never want to get too far away from music again.

After a great week, life in general just feels good. After getting home on Monday from concerts in NC and a long drive (I hammered it - Greensboro, NC to Murfreesboro, TN in just 6 hrs!), I got out of the hot tub and laid in front of the fireplace on my porch with my cats. The sun was setting, everything looked so nice, the plants were beautiful, the house was clean, it felt good to be home. I can't tell you how good life is when all I have to be concerned about doing is playing and teaching classical guitar. It is amazing to me that I can go out and be with good friends, play concerts, have fun, and in doing so, earn a month's pay in a week. I just feel so happy, humbled and somehow undeserving of this wonderful lifestyle.

People seemed to really like my program. I feel like I really connected with my audiences.

(Even with relatively small crowds, I still sold over 40 CDs in 5 concerts).

Pictures: 1) Poster from Elon University. 2) Leaving for SC in the MTSU car. 3) In concert with my lute at the University of SC in Columbia.

.... still haven't unpacked.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Gearing up for the concert tour

Gettin' ready...

It's really been fun preparing... scooting to school with the guitar on my back on my cycle to play for Music Appreciation classes, elementary kids at Lascasas School, and my own guitar rep classes. William, my cat in the photo has been my constant audience while I practice. He's a good listener but offers very little feedback.

It's not easy playing solo classical concerts. Especially when there are so many variables involved that could affect performance. Things like temperature, humidity and even more importantly the right hand fingernails. Classical guitarists produce their sound with right hand nails and the health and shape of the nails is paramount. Right now, my nails suck, but the show must go on so I'm using false nails cut from a ping-pong ball glued underneath the damaged nail - a common trick of the trade of classical guitarists. Unfortunately ... this is the first tour I will be using ALL fake nails. Usually, it's just one or 2.

This type of performance is not like a writers night or a bar band gig. The University concert series circuit is bit more demanding. Few performers know what it's like to walk out on stage with just a guitar and fingernails, no amplifier, no band to blend in with, no bar chatter, 100 guitar players and music students in the audience sitting in the dark in dead silence watching my every move under the bright lights with great attention while I'm being paid as much as $1000 an hour to play and get it right while my professional reputation is riding on every difficult passage I play. The technical difficulties and level of scrutiny are what separate this type performance from others. Confidence and preparation are everything. My attitude is that I can't be consumed with caring about mistakes, more so, I care about expressing the art of music, connecting with my audience, and having a good time. I can't wait to check out that University car and hit the road.

Valentines Day event - Monteagle Winery

Valentines Day event

Free wine tasting, chocolate and classical guitar.

As a tune up recital for my upcoming concert tour, I'll be playing a concert on Saturday at 6 pm at the Monteagle Winery. (Details of the concert tour and sound clips at my Myspace page).

Here's the promotional blurb:

Dear friends,

Please join us at the Monteagle Winery on Saturday, Feb. 14 for free wine tasting, chocolate and classical guitar. MTSU Music Faculty William Yelverton will be performing a 6:00 pm classical guitar and lute concert. The Monteagle Winery is about 90 minutes from Nashville, or an hour from Murfreesboro on I-24 East, exit 134. Turn left toward Sewanee and the Winery will be less than a mile on your right.

The Monteagle Winery is now under the ownership of MTSU 's Dr. Tony Johnston, master winemaker. If you like wonderful fruity wines, chocolate and classical guitar, please join us on Valentines Day. The very diverse and entertaining concert program will contain guitar and lute music from the Renaissance and Baroque, as well as Spanish Flamenco and Brazilian jazz. Come and enjoy for free.

William Yelverton will also be playing the same program at Blair School of Music's Turner Recital Hall in Nashville on Wed. February 25 at 8:00 pm. The Blair School of Music is located on 2400 Blakemore Ave.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nice cool southern weather

Ahh... it never gets really cold in Tennessee, right?

Check out these temperature reports from Mt. LeConte lodge in the Smoky Mountains:

High temperature: 13
Low temperature: -22

High temperature: -10
Low temperature: -18