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I’m A Faded Musical Star

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I starred in a play. A musical called “South Pacific.” Perhaps you’ve tried to Wash That Man Right Out Of Your Hair while having Some Enchanted Evening falling In Love With a Wonderful Guy on Bali H’ai?


Playing those songs on the piano is NOT the same thing as singing them across a crowded room. I almost wanted to crawl on top of the piano and recreate my entire dance number from Honey Bun in the Beaufort Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, because THAT would’ve been less persecution of people’s ears.

Seriously. They might’ve thrown me out for indecent dancing, but it wouldn’t have been like fingernails on a chalkboard. I don’t think………

I pounded through four or five songs and wandered over to the handbell choir. As backstory, I last played handbells 20 years ago. I never played bass bells, only treble. Mostly two-and-three-in-a-hand at the very top of the table.


I rang my way through four songs with my bass E and F bells. I blame my mistakes on their weight, because DANG they were heavy. I rang A LOT of duds.

But I had fun. I forgot what it feels like to lose myself in notes and rhythm and sound. It’s ordered and chaotic and glorious, stuff that doesn’t come back fast enough. Yet, it’s still a rush.

Maybe I like public speaking because I enjoy performing. I miss it in all its iterations.

Lucky me. I have another appearance today. Hilton Head Island, I promise not to sing, play piano, or torture you with handbells. But I’ll weave a good story, if you let me.


Today’s picture is from my appearance at Bluffton Rotary Club, a group that donates one book a week to area schools as part of its Rotary Literacy Program. I’m proud to be a Rotarian. We support the power of reading for children and adults around the world. At my Rotary appearances, $2 of every book sale goes to support Rotary Literacy Programs worldwide. To find out more, check out’s educational programs here:

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Well…not seen you dance or heard you sing..BUT you DO weave awesome stories 😉

    September 4, 2014
  2. I saw one of these very performances of you in South Pacific, and you were wonderful! I ALSO recall MANY beautiful piano solos! You’re an arsenal of talent that pours out of you when you speak. Signed, your-next-biggest-fan-after MTM/yourmom/yourdad

    September 4, 2014
  3. September 4, 2014
  4. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    I understand what you mean about the camaraderie that comes with being a part of a group/team. I always loved being in a choir – it was my sport growing up, since I am so woefully lacking in athletic skills. You were a great actor. I saw you in a couple of things at the Footlight.

    September 4, 2014
  5. Rotary certainly is a great organization and you are tho be commended for supporting the cause with your generous donations.

    September 4, 2014
  6. Performing is unto itself, but is made up of everything. It is expression on so many levels. The bottom line? It’s really fun.

    September 4, 2014
  7. Wonderful, Andra; both this posting and the last. Making my own kind of “music” up north, way past the Norske Nook, with the grands, but, had to weigh in and say hi and well done. 🙂

    September 4, 2014
  8. Virtuoso or not, I’m glad that tinkering with the instruments filled your creative tank! Sounds like a lot of fun!

    September 4, 2014
  9. See, this is why you need to know AC/DC on the piano and handbells. No one would have known the difference if you had hit a bum note. 🙂

    September 4, 2014
  10. Loving to entertain does help.

    September 4, 2014
  11. fantastic and don’t ever wash those skills right out of your hair, these can take you into your old age and beyond. you’ll be entertaining ’em forever i think )

    September 4, 2014
  12. tarakianwarrior #

    Anytime I hear about you playing the piano I think of the video of you and Jasmine. I hope I spelled the name correctly.

    September 4, 2014
  13. OK, I knew about the piano-playing and the acting and, of course, the writing; but handbells? singing? I did NOT know that at all. South Pacific is one of those musicals that I have enjoyed since I was a kid (EVERY song), and I’d have loved seeing you in it!

    September 4, 2014
  14. Kathy Waller #

    I wish I could have seen you in South Pacific. I really wish I could see you dancing on that Baptist Church piano. Just go for it!

    September 4, 2014
  15. Wow! I didn’t know you were in a play! That’s so cool! I also didn’t know you played the handbells. A friend of mine is in a traveling handbell choir. I’ve never been in one myself.

    September 5, 2014
  16. Performing on stage makes me queasy just to think about it. You are made of sterner stuff than I. However, I can admit to playing handbells in the church choir when I was a teenager. Like you I had the tiny bells. I never goofed up exactly, but my ringing form was sub-standard, to say the least.

    September 5, 2014
  17. Ah, music does wonderful things for the brain. Unites left and right. Perfect preparation for the book tour ahead. All the best, Andra 🙂

    September 5, 2014
  18. I was never very fond of performing solo, but I loved choirs and chorus and anything musical where I wasn’t the complete focus of attention. I hope you’re having a wonderful time with your appearances. I am completely sure that your talent as a performer keeps people on the edge of their seats as they admire your writing. 🙂

    September 6, 2014
  19. Glad to see you’re having fun!

    September 7, 2014
  20. Dancing on a Baptist Church Piano…. a name for a new novel?

    September 9, 2014
  21. Lance #

    I would pay money to see you perform.

    September 14, 2014

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