Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Competitions

It's Spring time, and that means lots of competitions!  Caleb traveled down to Logan, Utah for a piano competition.  This one he enjoys quite much, not for the actual competing, but because they have a big music carnival where you can play games and win prizes.

Caleb played lots of games to win tickets and then turn in for prizes, mostly candy.

He had fun posing for pictures outside in between performance times.

The competition was held at Utah State University.  It had lots of interesting sculptures outside.

Caleb competed in 5 different categories.  He was one of the younger ones, and we felt he did pretty well.  He was playing some pretty difficult pieces for a 9 year old, but as we came to learn later, the judges didn't really like that he was a young boy playing difficult pieces.  They seemed to want those pieces left for the older kids.   

Anyway, in the end, Caleb did manage an Honorable Mention in the category of Impressionist Piece for playing Debussy's Golliwog's Cakewalk.  This was impressive, as it was a competition for kids up to 14 years old, and there were 2 other kids also playing the same piece as Caleb.  

Here he is on stage accepting his prize:

As you can see, the other kids were quite older.

Caleb had a great time and wants to go again next year.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Caleb Wins Again!

The morning after Caleb had a spectacular evening playing with an orchestra, we packed all up and headed to Park City, Utah to compete in the Con Brio Music Festival.  
Last year Caleb had won 1st place in the Concerto Competition in the age group above his, and to no surprise, this year he did it again!  

Caleb won 1st place Concerto!  
But, not only that, he won 2nd place in the solo competition,
Best Romantic Piece,
2nd Place in Music Composition!

He won 2 certificates and 2 trophies!

The composition he wrote was for both violin and piano.  He made it easy enough so his sister could play it with him.  

He called it "Jewelia's Song".  

Here is a video of them practicing before competition:

Jewelia came with Caleb to the Awards Recital to help play his composition.  
It was really a simple little song, but the audience loved it.  

They also asked Caleb to play his Concerto and Bach's Invention Number 8 for the recital.  So Caleb played 3 different times for the ceremony!

Here he is playing Invention:


What another great year in Park City for Caleb!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Caleb Plays with Orchestra!!!

It is early Spring and pretty much Caleb was just waiting until the end of March where he would have his annual Con Brio competition in Park City, Utah.  Not too much excitement, but then all of the sudden, out of the blue, his teacher sends a text to ask if Caleb would be able to perform the concerto he was working on with the University orchestra in a little over 2 weeks time.  

Woh.  He had his concerto memorized, but he hadn't really been working on it, and he didn't have a cadenza leaned (the end solo part of the concerto), and woh, this was only 2 1/2 weeks away.  Could this even happen?  

There were 7 other kids (all older, from ages 10 to 17) who had been asked to perform, and yet some of these kids had been working on their concertos for almost 2 years!  Caleb had only started working on this concerto since after his arm surgery, so maybe it had been a couple of months, but not consistently.  

This was a big decision, and there were some costs of some sorts to pay for orchestra, a suit for Caleb, time, preparation.....stress.....the worry that this was a short notice and could Caleb really do it?

Should we let him do it?  Should we come up with the money?  Was it worth it?  

Really, playing with an orchestra is a huge opportunity.  As we researched, we found that there were many accomplished pianists who may have won competitions over the years but had never had the chance to play with orchestra.  Here Caleb was only 9 years old, but this was a huge opportunity and who was to say if he would have other chances in the future?  

So, we decided to do it.  Caleb was a little nervous about the idea at first, but after talking with his piano teacher, he seemed very excited.

He prepared the next 2 weeks.  He worked very hard.  He got special permission at school to practice everyday after lunch on their piano in the lunchroom.

His mom freaked out a little when they were coming up with a new cadenza the night before the rehearsal that Caleb had yet to learn and memorize.  His teacher just laughed and said, "Chill out!  We're musicians here!"  

The night came to rehearse with the orchestra.  He had met with the conductor the week before, and now he had one night to rehearse his concerto in a small 15 minute time slot and that was it.  

He was extremely nervous, as he had never played with an orchestra before.  Caleb has always been a very distracted pianist and will often look at everything else besides the piano when he is playing.  We had told him to stay focused and not to look at the violinists or out into the audience while he played, but it came to mess him up, when the conductor started the orchestra and it came to his part the conductor motioned him in but Caleb did not start.  He was so much concentrating not to look anywhere else, that he missed his start.  Well, that, and he had never heard the orchestra part as how he is to start.  It's a little different than when his teacher plays.  So as he failed to come in, the orchestra all laughed.  This made Caleb even more nervous. We knew Caleb would be alright, he always performs well under pressure.


Caleb's teacher was there and she was helping him out and being very reassuring.  

At home, he was very excited when his new suit came in the mail that evening.  It even had tails!!

The night of the concert came and Caleb was very excited.  
Some of his biggest fans were already there to support him!

He was to wait backstage until he performed, but he was number 5 to go on stage, so we volunteered his dad to keep him occupied until it was time.  You never know what a 9 year old could do backstage waiting all that time.....

We did get some nice pictures on stage before it began.

The concert began and we were all so nervous waiting for the 5th pianist to come out.  It finally came, and out came Caleb to perform!  

Here is the amazing performance we got to witness:


He did so well!  There were a few spots Caleb had continued to forget during practice, but he remembered them all and did amazing!  What an awesome accomplishment for a 9 year old boy!

We tried to get a picture of all the performers over the audience's standing ovation!  
See little Caleb was the smallest as always.

Afterward, he got to meet a huge fan club!

This isn't all of the group.  He even had some teachers from school come to see him.

His piano teacher was so proud of him!

He even signed an autograph!

So exciting and wonderful it was!  It's just so amazing and awesome that he was able to be a part of it, and he did so well!  And as we just noticed, this is Caleb's 100th blog post!  How fitting to play with orchestra for his 100th post!

Thank you so much to all the friends and great family support to allow Caleb to have this wonderful opportunity!  We love you!