Last night I went to an evening of carols and mulled wine hosted by my first cousins once removed. My first cousin, once removed, in law is a professional musician, and many of the other guests were as well; people were introduced by name, relation, and musical instrument of choice. I was invited to bring my flute, to which I replied that I thought they had underestimated my lack of skill; the response was that people were bringing their third or worst instrument, so I’d be fine.
And actually, it was a blast. I did play my flute — even I can handle sight-reading Christmas carols, though when we got to jigs I had to give up — and I reckon playing in front of a bunch of strangers, some of them members of Symphony Nova Scotia, counts as playing in public. My immediate family is not particularly musical, and I’d never done that sort of thing, just hanging out and drinking mulled wine (well, I’ve done that before) and singing/playing carols for an evening.
A few things stand out: playing “Silent Night” with my first cousin (once removed) and a guitarist (who was playing from memory; we had music). The violist who learned to play some form of baritone by ear. Just playing as part of a group, socially, unconcernedly, without stress or strain: having fun with music. I’ve never just played like that before, and not played in public since high school. It was a lovely evening.
I think I shall practise my flute more in the new year. I’d like to be able to at least give a reasonable effort at the jigs next time …