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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Performance at the Edale Christmas Open Mic Night

The annual Christmas open mic night in Edale is one of the highlights of my year - I decided to play the piano for the first time.

I used to live in Edale and my Dad lived there for 10 years, so we have many friends in the village and our Christmas tradition is to come to the open mic night which always happens on 23rd December. The village is full of professional musicians (folk musicians, screen writers, pianists, etc.) as well as talented amateur musicians and poets - so, the open mic night is always a delightful celebration of local talent. One of the highlights of the evening is the shepherd who sings the same song every year about dry-stone-walling and still can't remember the lyrics, leading to much hilarity. My personal favourite, however, is a retired physicist who writes haikus about things that have happened during the last year - which are always very funny especially with his dead-pan delivery.

This year I decided to perform with the piano for the first time (usually I perform with the guitar) despite having almost zero experience of performing the piano live. I have been practicising a lot lately, and I wanted to perform two songs which I originally wrote on the piano; Always On The Road (which is my Dad's favourite) and To Remember Them. What I hadn't twigged about playing the piano, until I started performing, was that other people's pianos will be slightly different to your own. As I am not super confident at playing the piano anyway, this totally threw me off and I made quite a lot of mistakes (which I never make at home) at the start of the first song, as I got used to the shallower keys. My Dad filmed the performance for me, so I edited a TikTok reel of that song which only included the second half and didn't publish the full version anywhere!

By the second song, 'To Remember Them' about the war in Ukraine and the flight MH17 disaster - I had got used to the piano so I made fewer mistakes. However, this song includes several very high notes in my upper register and as my asthma has been particularly bad with the colder weather, I could tell I was struggling to reach these notes with a clear tone. Overall, I thought it was a decent performance, so I published the full video on my YouTube! One lady came up to me afterwards and said the song nearly made her cry - which was very sweet. Although, it hadn't been my intention to put a downer on the party!

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