We had the chance to catch up with our April 2009 YouPerform Contest winners, who were happy to share the story of how this duet met and honed their music together with the help of our online sheet music catalog.
Narelle and Elaine’s musical journey began at a housewarming party where Narelle sang the song “Welcome to my World.” When speaking with Elaine after her performance, Narelle discovered that not only was Elaine a musician as well, but an active volunteer who dedicated her piano and accordion skills to perform music at local retirement homes and care facilities for the elderly.
Excited by the idea, Narelle offered to sing and perform with Elaine, who responded very warmly to the idea. Not long afterward, the duet began rehearsing and structured four or five musical programs over the course of the following year that were comprised of 30 or 40 songs per program. In Elaine’s experiences, she had learned that senior citizens are particularly partial to songs from the World War eras and had been playing most of the songs by ear prior to her work with Narelle. Unfamiliar with music from the era, Narelle felt she had a huge amount of learning to do, especially since there wasn’t a lot of sheet music on hand for those songs.
When Elaine didn’t have the necessary sheet music for a particular song, Narelle found herself struggling to learn the songs by ear. To find the sheet music, Narelle turned to Musicnotes.com where she usually found what she needed. Many of the songs on Musicnotes.com are arranged with a vocal line and corresponding accompaniment, so both musicians ended up benefiting from Narelle’s sheet music downloads. Narelle also found that she was surprised that a number of highly-popular short songs like “Daisy Bell” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” turned out to be the choruses of ballads with two or three verses.
While the journey for Narelle and Elaine hasn’t been easy, it’s been a rewarding one that has led them to their award-winning YouPerform contest entry of “(I’ll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time.”
“Thank you, Musicnotes, for the monthly free sheet music and the opportunity to hone our craft through the YouPerform contest, and thank you to previous winners who advised to ‘make a piece your own’ and ‘find something to make it special’,” wrote Narelle and Elaine. Both performers also added their advice for contest entrants:
Narelle mentioned to us that other musicians should “be true to the sort of music you want to do and don’t let yourself be swayed by what others say is popular. Be courageous — stick with what you do best.”
Elaine’s advice is this: “If you’re given an opportunity, HAVE A GO, even if you think it’s beyond you. Very often you’ll find that with practice it wasn’t as hard as you thought it would be.” — April 2009 YouPerform Contest Winners
Musicnotes.com would like to extend its best wishes to Narelle and Elaine on their musical future. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about your April YouPerform contest winners, and that you’re inspired to sing or play an eligible song for this month’s YouPerform contest. Until next time, we invite you to watch the winning performance below.