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Laurie Niles

February 19, 2004 at 3:37 AM

Wow, a ding letter already and they haven't heard me play a note!

Apparently the Big Orchestra in Town got more than 500 resumes for their one section violin position, and after carefully reviewing mine decided not to "invite" me to the audition. Waah! They even returned my $100 deposit fee!

This is a little disappointing, after entertaining fantasies of playing for the LA Phil. Add to that the fact that my playing is awesome right now; practicing three hours a day really does do wonders. Not to mention the trip to Denver to take a lesson. On the airplane, I actually turned off the Sting for once and listened to Alban Berg's "Lyric Suite" on my headphones the whole way there. Now that's commitment.

I kind of wonder what was deficient with my resume - I do have those nice degrees from Northwestern and Indiana University. And I've been playing professionally non-stop since graduating. Of course, none of my playing has been with, say, the Cleveland Orchestra, but nonetheless, I am a seasoned, veteran section-violinist.

They did provide more than the normal number of opportunities for people to bail out of this audition. (Did I mention they got 500 applications?) First they wanted a resume, then they provided an application to fill out. When they sent the scary Berg and Adams excerpts they noted, "If you wish to withdraw your application, please let us know, ASAP." Then a month ago came a letter saying they would be issuing "invitations" Feb. 18. (And, "If you wish to withdraw your application, please let us know, ASAP.") Of course, one has to commit to this kind of audition well in advance of a month, so I went ahead and practiced my tail off. Dove headlong into Berg!

They have, however, thrown me a little doggy-bone: I can sign up to possibly audition on a "stand-by" basis. Basically I would need to be "standing by" between the dates of March 20 and March 24 and could be called up to play at any point during that time. Like a lesson with Dorothy Delay! Even so, the letter says, "each individual audition could be as short as just one orchestra excerpt and the Auditions Committee may dismiss you at any time during your audition."

Am I deterred?

Well, of course not! I will stand by for 120 hours so they can hear my eight bars of Mozart 39. And it's going to be damn good!

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