Today was a nice, relaxing day. I slept in, did 2 loads of laundry, went grocery shopping, performed in a kids concert, and made a nice dinner at home.
You read correctly. I performed in a kids concert, and it was so random how it happened. My friend Filipe is a singer and musician, as well as a dancer. A group of friends and I went to see him perform a show at a bar this past Friday night. Today, he invited me to a kids concert that he was performing in. I was uncertain of what he meant, but wanting more music in my Portugal experience, I said yes.
He picked me up with a group of guys, all but one I had met last weekend. They were the band, and tour around the area performing children’s events. Joao, the front man, started doing these events after stopping his career as a mechanical engineer. So of course now he makes a living teaching guitar and performing. On the way to Loule, the city they were to perform in, Joao taught mesome of the songs they were going to sing. They convinced me to sing along in a song or two. I went along with it thinking they couldn’t be serious; I can hardly speak Portuguese, let alone English.
We arrived in Loule´, parked the car and entered through a side-stage door and brought the instruments right onto the stage – it was then I realized what I had gotten myself into. I was picturing a birthday party, or a rec room somewhere. No, this was a full blown theatre.
The sound engineer began working with them immediately upon our arrival, setting up and beginning sound check. There were only 4 mics and 4 chairs, so I concluded they must have been joking in the car – I was not going to be performing. Still, they kept making comments, saying they needed a woman in the mix. They produced another chair to the stage, and I realized there was no turning back. They decided not to mic me since I couldn’t speak Portuguese well enough (me, not have a mic on stage!? Well that was humbling!). They gave me 2 bags of percussion instruments to choose from through the concert, to use as I pleased: maraca’s, tambourines, xylophones, blocks of wood, hollowed sticks, a triangle, egg shakers, shakers in the shapes of fruits and vegetables – the cucumber was my favorite. I started to get nervous, I need to rehearse! I can’t wing it, I don’t know these songs, and I never play percussion!!
We waited in the wings, listening to the sounds of children fill the theatre. Joao decided I should go on first, before the four. After we were announced, I skipped onto the stage masking my nerves and took my place. The crowd was silent. There were about 50+ people in the audience, kids and parents – my nerves settled, and the show began. It was truly adorable. These kids knew many of the songs, and joined in dancing, clapping and singing. Halfway through the show, Joao invited the kids to come up on stage and play with the slew of instruments he had brought. It was so cute to see so many kids get excited about performing, being on stage and making music.
This trip has brought me back to my first love (at the age of 4), singing. I wonder where it will lead me next. I felt so lucky to have had this experience today. Talk about going with the flow and being in the moment! Now I can say I performed in Portugal, on stage, in a theatre no less!