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Agony and ecstasy

December 26, 2006|by SYDNEY TOOLEY

Have you ever had someone come up to you after you perform and tell you how much they loved your music?

Well I have, and it's a really nice feeling. I play with 15 other harpists in the Tri-State Harp Ensemble, and it's really nice to have someone come up to me after performing and telling me what a good job I did.

Today, I will be playing for the historic walk through of churches in Frederick, Md. It is a tour of all the churches, and I will be playing in Calvary United Methodist Church from 4 to 9 p.m. There is no charge to see the churches.

Visitors can relax on the day after Christmas and walk through 13 different churches in downtown Frederick. Many churches have refreshments and music.

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Playing with Tri-State Harp Ensemble is a lot of fun. Since we all play the same instrument, we understand each other completely. The last performance I did, I was really nervous because I had a solo I wasn't quite ready for. Everyone understood how I felt, and I didn't feel embarrassed to say, "I'm nervous," because everyone else was nervous, too.

Calvary United Methodist Church is beautiful. I love the decor and the antiques. The lighting is exquisite. I usually play for a lot of people, but when I played for the church walk-through last year, I felt something else. I really don't know how to describe it.

We will play our entire program twice, but that's not as short as you might think. It might be about an hour and a half.

There's a lot to remember when playing a concert. It doesn't help to worry. Sometimes I get to thinking how big the crowd is and how, if I mess up, people will hear you.

I try to play as though I were playing for God himself. I always pray before I start. I say "God, I give you my music. If it be your will then let me play good. Help me not to mess up." That always helps me the most.

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