Sunday 4 February 2024

1988: Mother's Day Piano Recital

         If I was to ask you to conjure up an image of a Mother’s Day Piano Recital, I expect that you might see a genteel gathering of well-dressed folks quietly listening to a classical piano composition with their eyes closed in ecstasy, as they contemplated what they were hearing.  Well, that was sort of what the Robson valley Community Art Council had in mind when we planned such an event.  As president, seeing that the recital happened, fell largely upon my shoulders.

    The Robson Valley Community Art Council was a rag-tag organization made up local residents of our tiny rural community, which included everything from young counter-culture types to elderly, very proper, elderly ladies.  The common thread we had in common was our love and appreciation of the arts, and a desire to provide some semblance of them in our community.

    The Art Council sponsored art exhibits, film series, concerts of traveling folk singers, and now, a classical piano recital for Mother’s Day.  The whole idea came about because of a suggestion at one of our meetings.  There was a classically trained pianist who lived outside the tiny hamlet of Dunster, who might be convinced to put on a concert.  I contacted Toby, the pianist, to see if he would be interested.  He was, but with one caveat; he would only do it if he could use his own piano.  Yow, by that time in my life, I had already got roped into moving four pianos, and it was not something I enjoyed, but for the Art Council, I would do it again, so the concert was set.

    I made arrangements with Toby to pick up and move his piano on Saturday, the day before the concert.  Saturday morning, Trevor and I met at Duncan’s place and spent an hour removing the back seat from Duncan’s van, that was to be used to move Toby’s piano.  Once the seat was out, we followed Duncan as he drove to Dunster, and Toby’s log cabin, which was located down a long muddy driveway.

    The three of us, plus Toby, manhandled the heavy piano from its resting place, out the door of the cabin and onto the porch.  Duncan had his van backed up to the porch, and when we compared the bulk of the piano, to the allotted space in the van, it became obvious, that the two were not compatible.

    We all stood there on Toby’s porch, shaking our heads and wondering, “Now, what?”  Toby insisted that his piano be transferred within an inclosed space that would prevent any drafts from effect his instrument.

    After a bit of brainstorming, we came up with a possible solution.  Robson Valley Courier & Transfer, a local freight company, had a big truck and luckily, they agreed to haul the piano for us on Sunday morning, the day of the concert.

      I picked Trevor up at 10:00 on Sunday morning and we once again, drove out to Toby’s cabin.  We watched from the porch, as the Transfer truck made its way down the drive toward the cabin.  All was going well, until the huge truck began to back across Toby’s lawn toward his porch.  There it got stuck in the mud, and was unable to free itself from the muck.

    Toby called a friend with a 4 x 4 truck to pull it out.  However, when the 4 x 4 arrived, it couldn’t budge the Transfer truck.

    Toby then called a neighbor with a big tractor to come give it a try.  Fortunately, the tractor was able to pull the truck out of the morass, and the truck was then able to get to the porch where using the lift at the rear of the truck, we were able to easily load the piano into the truck, 

    We all gave a big sigh of relief, but our troubles weren’t over.  As the Transfer Truck proceeded toward the driveway, it got stuck again, and ended up having to be pulled the entire length of Toby’s driveway, by the tractor.

    By 1:40, we had gotten the piano to the hall, unloaded it, and moved it into place ready for the 2:00 recital.  Forty people showed up for the event, and all were impressed by Toby’s talent.

    I too was very impressed with Toby’s music abilities.  However, I am afraid that all of the the hassles we had experienced in trying to get the piano to the hall, had tainted the performance for me, and there was more yet to come, because immediately after the performance, we were once again back to loading the piano into the Transfer truck, which drove it back to Toby’s cabin. 

    Once there, we again had to use the tractor to get the truck to Toby’s porch.  It was gently lowered by truck’s lift to the porch.  With great relief we then pushed and lugged the monster back into its place in Toby’s house, and happily left the beast, vowing to never lay eyes on it again.

    I doubt that those people in the audience of the concert ever had any thoughts about just how much time, effort, hassles, and frustration it had taken to put on the event on that peaceful Mother’s Day afternoon.

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