In Recital, Functions, or Background.


I was booked once for a function at the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. In one of the old sandstone heritage buildings, where I have played many at many weddings and functions. 9am on a Saturday morning, 20 minutes before start, I was given a chair in the corner of a beautiful room - wainscoting, extensive book cases, botanical watercolours, antique furniture - and 20-30 empty chairs focused on yours truly.

I had expected a one hour call for background music, not a small recital. How tempting it could have been to not take it seriously! The job was to play a 20 minute set for the seated audience before them moving on to their business of the day. A professional attitude saved the day. This musician takes preparation for a gig - functions or background music - as seriously as for a recital. Obviously the two are different, but both equally important.

At a gig, one never knows who is in the room, and it pays to assume that the director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is present. Prepared for that, I had a ball. All the fun of a recital sans nervous build up and preemptive stage fright.

These three types of work - recital, functions, or background - are different, but not so much as one might think.

Members of the Sydney Classical Guitar Society in concert.