December 18, 2008 at 5:28 AM
Tonight was the Holiday Concert for my school. And... I don't really know if I'm going to be able to put what I experienced into words!
I arrived in the room and was hit with a wall of sound. It came from every instrument, every musician practicing to their heart's content. A clarinetist playing the fastest arpeggios and sclaes . A cellist playing a part to Gershwin's "Summertime". After this scene of events took place for 20 or so minutes the choir went to the stage to begin. I wasn't listening to them and I can't give you the "gist" of the first half of the concert.
It was a haunting sound as the mens choir sung to the beat of some of the nicest percussion I've ever heard. Then the percussion ensemble, then jazz band performed. After them another choir performed. Then it was OUR time to shine :)
We walked onto the stage (behind curtain) and set up while the choir was singing. As the curtain opened our director readied us.
The first piece was "Once upon a December". It opened with the quaint sound of pizzicato and moved swiftly to the music box sound being played skillfully on the keyboard. The first violins were introduced with a slow waltz-like theme. Then the seconds. I have to say that the dynamics and the percussion at the climax of the song were the first thing to give me chills in quite a long time. This was without a doubt our best song.
We then moved to "Faeries", an arrangement from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Faeries. It was an interesting piece but the second violin part isn't that fun... Not that I'm complaining.
Then, after a few more groups performed it was time for the....
Finale. The band, orchestra and all choirs performed together. The band and orchestra being on stage and the choir surrounding the audience. It was an explosive ending. After the last note, and the ringing of the instruments still in the air, the audience went wild with applause and did that for about 30 seconds, then proceeded to a standing ovation for 2 or 3 minutes. Not bad for a high school production in my opinion:) The standing ovation was one of the greatest feelings I've had in a while and all of us couldn't help but smile.
So that was my night. Sorry that this blog is so horribly written! I'm tired and it was difficult for me to get feelings into words.
...And that is the magic of music! Congratulations on your wonderful performance.
What seems great in the US is that you seem to have a lot of schools with orchestras, quires etc. Here (Canada), we have a few in some big cities but in general (from what I've seen), there is much more brass only bands in school and the level is not always that good. I played flute all my high school because there was no violin.
I'm really happy for you, the ambiance in gigs is sometimes very special and really it is hard to explain! (I am sure it has something to do with the adrenaline of the moment, like in a sportive event) That is what makes music and sport so special!
A nice story to hear about what music performance can and hopefully should always be about. Having been through a public school music program (not particurlary distinguished in my playing), the 10 years of doing performances made it worthwhile, that somehow washed away the frustrations, being forced to be in marching band (with a not so good football team most of the time) while either freezing or boiling, and so forth. I am glad you had those special moments....and I sort of am experiencing that vicariously, as our son progresses in his climb up the musical ladder. We have gone from school performances to local youth symphony to more advanced level playing in much less humble settings then before, and it brings that thrill to us as well:)
Congratulation Paul! After all the frustrations and hardwork, you all earned it! The awe that you felt that evening and after were and are truly a joy. Your still flying are you?
You know you are meant to do something in music when you get chills playing something.
Thanks for all your comments everyone. I appreciate them, and they were quite interesting :)
What a great description - thanks for sharing.
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