Skip to main content

Upcoming Concert: Bringing the Community In

We’ll be doing a Community Play-In at the end of our Saturday night park concert - an arrangement of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (with all the vocal parts and the hard parts removed).  The South Bend Symphony will be joined on stage with nearly fifty players from the community.  These range from young high school students to senior citizens, and I think that this will end up being a thrill for us and for them.

We had a rehearsal the other night with these community players.  Only a handful of symphony musicians were present, and we worked on an eight minute piece for two and a half hours, which felt to me like a recipe for a dreadful evening. 

And it did feel interminable at first.  The group started playing, and fell apart completely at the first time change.  We corrected, restarted, and fell apart again in some string section counterpoint.  I was already checking my watch. 

The work we did was not as directed as it would have been in a professional group.  Pretty much we just played little sections until we got them and then strung them together into bigger sections.  It took about eight times longer to rehearse this piece into playability than it would have for our orchestra.  But compared to the rehearsal pace of a high school orchestra, or a municipal band, we put together a difficult piece in the snap of a finger!  

At the beginning of the session I was seeing panic on the faces of some string players.  And by the end no one was afraid.  Beethoven sounded like Beethoven.  It was absolutely exciting to watch the progress that this very mixed group made over such a short period of time. 

When we perform it Saturday night, with these newly empowered community musicians joining the full SBSO, the effect will be terrific.   Our orchestra is always trying to build ties within the community, and MAKING MUSIC TOGETHER is such a great way to do it.  Yes, performing on the Morris stage with a full house in passive attendance is our real job, but here at the very end of summer I am so pleased to have this chance to collaborate with our audience!

This final outdoor concert of this summer season will be Saturday at 7. Now, all of my concerns about parks concerts still apply - the sweat, the bugs, the interminable pops charts.  But I’m looking forward to this one.  Details HERE.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

They tend to play the oboe only from the TOP of their body, north of the collarbone, and it winds up unsupported.  Fussy.  Weak.  And out of tune.

So I back them into a corner, and have them stand a foot or so out from it, facing out into the room.  And I challenge them to find a sound that resonates BEHIND them, out from the corner of the room that they are not facing, to fill the space without blowing directly into the space.

It's a weird metaphor.  I wouldn't have any idea how to describe the physical technique to do it. When I find it in myself, it feels like my back is puffy and my body is round, and large, and barrel like, and also collected and zipped up, and supremely powerful.  If you know me, you know that these statements about my body aren't remotely true.  But that's what I feel when I'm blowing well, and filling the room, and owning my resonance.

I teach resonance.  I talk …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Everybody's Got a Thing

I went in for my yearly mammogram last week. As you know, it's not exactly a painful procedure, but it's uncomfortable, and as I was being manipulated into the unwieldy machine I got to thinking about what a peculiar job it must be to jam women into awkward positions, over and over, every fifteen minutes all day.

So after we were done I asked the technician about that, and she LIT UP, the way people do when they FINALLY get to talk about the thing they are passionate about, and she talked about the advances in the technology since she was starting out, and the things this machine was capable of.  She talked about the women it has saved, from dying of cancer, of course, but also from unnecessary surgical disfigurement.  It was completely inspiring listening to this lady love her weird job, and I left feeling fantastic about the whole ordeal. It's great to see someone who is doing what they are supposed to be doing!

Two weeks before, I had my first Mendelssohn rehearsal with…