“If I got lost, I could either look at his hands and see where he was or listen to the harmony to find the place,” junior Chelsea Coventry said about turning pages for Professor and Chair of Music Bruce Polay for Saturday’s Knox Galesburg Symphony Trio concert in Kresge Recital Hall.
Coventry turned pages at the piano for Polay on all three of the Trio’s pieces. The lead up to the concert presented her with mixed emotions.
“I was both excited and nervous. It was an honor — people had paid money to go to that concert, which made it even more nerve-wracking,” Coventry said.
The opportunity to page-turn for Polay came as a bit of a surprise and accident for Coventry, who is a music major specializing in theory and composition. Polay had sent out an email to his 19th century music class the week before, asking for a page-turner. Coventry happened to mention to Polay that she was interested, and, despite the fact that she had no experience page-turning, Polay asked her to do it. “I said, ‘It sounds like fun, but I have never done it before, and I would be afraid of messing you up,” but he [Polay] said, ‘no, this is great,” Coventry said.
Although Coventry is primarily a cellist, following the piano music for the program did not prove to be difficult for her. The most difficult moment came at the end of the second piece of the evening, Beethoven’s Cello Sonata #4, when the piano part had a repeat, requiring that Coventry go back a page. Coventry had very little time before the concert to review the music, and when the repeat came, the sticky-note that Polay had attached to the page flew off. “I hadn’t really seen the music. I came in at 7 [p.m.], and the concert was at 7:30 [p.m.]; I went into his office for about two minutes and he showed me how to turn a page,” Coventry said. Those two minutes were the only introduction that she had to the music.
The concert as a whole “was a blur until the last page when I sat back and said, ‘you know, I’m kind of glad I did this. It was kind of fun,’” Coventry said.