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The Puzzling Results: Part Six Cliburn Amateur

Janet playing in the Preliminary Round. 

Janet playing in the Preliminary Round. 

The thirty quarter finalists included Janet. She's easy to spot in her bright blue.

The thirty quarter finalists included Janet. She's easy to spot in her bright blue.

She played like an angel. I was so proud. I didn't think there was any way she wouldn't get into the semifinals. Oops.
 
Piano Competitions are like Ice Skating at the Olympics. They're entirely subjective. While it was lovely that I thought Janet was a shoe-in for the semifinals, I didn't actually have a voice in the decision. That was up to the judges who'd heard every note that was played. 

I had friends on the jury who I spoke with after the vote. They said that she had almost made it - that she had fans and it was very close. I don't know whether that made it better or worse. You want to know what DID make it better?

Texas Barbecue. 

Brisket, Ribs, Turkey, Beans, Potato Salad and extra Barbecue Sauce

Brisket, Ribs, Turkey, Beans, Potato Salad and extra Barbecue Sauce

Closeup of the Ribs and Brisket. 

Closeup of the Ribs and Brisket. 

Our home away from home. 

Our home away from home. 

Getting eliminated from a piano competition is disorienting. You've spent all your time taking pristine care of yourself. Maintaining focus. Freeing yourself from distractions. Suddenly, you're free and you'd BETTER distract yourself.

Twenty-foot-high lilacs in every color you can imagine. 

Twenty-foot-high lilacs in every color you can imagine. 

Perfectly manicured lawns and space that doesn't exist in San Francisco. 

Perfectly manicured lawns and space that doesn't exist in San Francisco. 

If the weather hadn't been in the high 90's all week we would have been strolling around the beautiful gardens in the neighborhood. 

At home the hills and the ocean get in the way of beautiful skyscapes like this. Mashed Potato Clouds, maybe?

At home the hills and the ocean get in the way of beautiful skyscapes like this. Mashed Potato Clouds, maybe?

Janet and Kara doing their important work. 

Janet and Kara doing their important work. 

The Mandala puzzle we did while Janet was still in the competition. A thousand pieces of peaceful contemplation. 

The Mandala puzzle we did while Janet was still in the competition. A thousand pieces of peaceful contemplation. 

Instead, we set up in the kitchen and family room of our temporary home and enjoyed something that felt like being snowed in - except  the weather was on the other side of the thermometer. It gave us - three busy mothers - a chance to rest and renew. We slept in, cooked yummy food and enjoyed watching the entire semifinals of the Cliburn Amateur streamed live on our home entertainment system. (That way we could eat popcorn and not have to be polite.)
 
There were a few performances that knocked us all out. Particularly Gregory Knight, Michael Slavin, Xavier Aymonod and Thomas Yu. Watch for one of those four to win the Gold Medal. 

Watching the semifinals at home. 

Watching the semifinals at home. 

Tomorrow afternoon we'll make the trek down to beautiful Bass Hall to see the finals of the competition. Unfortunately, three of the competitors are playing the same exact concerto movement - the first movement of Beethoven Third. That will make for a peculiar concert. Thomas Yu, a Periodontist from Calgary will finish the concert with a much-needed refreshing Saint-Saen Egyptian Concerto final movement. 

Calling this an Amateur Competition is misleading. The playing is at a high professional level from all but a few competitors. The performers included doctors, attorneys, financial consultants, writers, lots of software engineers, and even two cell biologists. (One of my favorite current students is also a cell biologist!)

The finals will be streamed live at 3 pm Central Time on Saturday, June 24, 2016 at Cliburn.org. All of the previous performances are already available on YouTube. They're inspiring. My personal favorite is Janet Sommerfeld's performance of "Romeo Says Goodbye to Juliet" by Prokofiev in the Quarterfinals.

What's yours?

Janet and Diane on a quick break from practicing between rounds. 

Janet and Diane on a quick break from practicing between rounds. 

Prizes, Pictures and Periodontistry: Part Seven Cliburn Amateur

Prizes, Pictures and Periodontistry: Part Seven Cliburn Amateur

Team Janet: Part Five Cliburn Amateur

Team Janet: Part Five Cliburn Amateur

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