That wasn’t half bad.
[I've added a bit in the extended entry part.]
As I had hoped, my panic burned itself out over the weekend, so by the time of the recital I was just a little nervous. We were among the last to play, and stood around in the stuffy, crowded room waiting for our turn. When it finally came, we got our instruments and took our seats (did you know a kettle drum has a sturdy rim that sticks out all the way around, and sort of hurky tuning pegs? I didn’t, until I nearly broke the neck off my cello by cracking it into the rim when I picked it up from where it had been, beneath the kettle drum) and shyness became a greater problem for me than nerves, as I got tunnel vision. My area of sight, or focus, shrank down to a circle the size of a bottle cap, which enabled me to scan my sheet music but not to really see or hear the other musicians much, (nor the audience, so it was a mixed blessing). I hit only a couple wrong notes, and did find my fingers at one point in totally the wrong place on the neck of my cello, but I got them reoriented within a measure or so and everything seemed to go well. Applause. Forgot to bow; although, not so much forgot as just wanted to get out of there after finishing.
The women in the recorder ensemble all played well. We were accompanied on piano as well, so I was also somewhat relaxed in the knowledge that I could, if I hit a rough spot, hide beneath that (figuratively speaking) although it turned out not to be necessary. They asked me to play with them at a concert in November, and I agreed willingly.
My wife and younger daughter were in the audience, and they both said we sounded fine. The critical lady who attends every recital at the music school was there – her brother is, I believe, a talented cellist – and she gave me her seal of approval, which meant a lot to me as she is candid to a degree that often shocks other people, although I get a kick out of people like that. Best of all, my oldest daughter the musician listened in and gave me a thumbs up.
Afterwards we went to an Italian restaurant nearby and sat around a table outside drinking wine and talking about the Olaf Palme assassination.