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Karen Allendoerfer


June 14, 2008 at 12:25 PM

That's what it was called, including the exclamation point. I had actually never played this type of CONCERT! before. And, I didn't know what to expect--POPS concerts seem to have a dodgy reputation with some musicians. I'd also missed more rehearsals than I would have liked, due to my trip to Cleveland for my father's surgery, and the subsequent playing catch-up at work and at home. The first violin section was back down to 7 players, up from a high of 12 at the previous concert of Beethoven and Mozart.

But it turned out to be a blast! The Arlington town hall was full on a warm spring evening. We played a couple of Souza marches to open and close the program and included the Armed Forces Salute with all the US Military songs. Both our main conductor and one of the assistant conductors were military musicians and they encouraged anyone in the audience who had served or was serving now to stand when they heard their song. Many people of all ages stood, and there was applause each time. It was very touching.

My personal favorite of the pieces we played was a tribute to Henry Mancini, with "Baby Elephant Walk," "Peter Gunn," and the "Pink Panther." The rhythms in this, and in "Sophisticated Lady," and some others, were very different from the Beethoven and Mozart that we're used to.

It was over so quickly in the end that I'm only just now realizing, emotionally, that I don't have any orchestra rehearsals or plans over the summer. I'll be playing at the Farmer's Market again next month and need to start reviewing my viola solos for that. I'm not sure if I'm going to play the Clarke or not, maybe I can excerpt it so it sounds okay without the piano part.

The major question in the back of my mind is about my audition for the LSO in the fall. I'm playing the Clarke and the Bach, and both are in pretty good shape now already. I have the summer to polish them while working with my teacher on something new, the Schumann Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70. If I make the LSO, I can't do two orchestras, so I will have to quit this one. That would make me sad. One friend asked me if I was going to come back again next year and I was non-committally positive. I might very well come back, since the LSO is very competitive and not making it is a very real possibility. So in a way, that takes some pressure off the audition. If I don't make it, life, and music, will go on.

On the other hand, will I unconsciously sabotage myself at the audition due to these conflicted feelings? I haven't done a real audition, that is, one where making the group was on the line, in >20 years--and some of those in the past didn't go very well. I'm nervous about just the act of bringing up and working through those bad old feelings about auditions. I'm choosing to view this as a challenging experience that will foster my growth as a musician. In that light, "making it" is only a secondary goal.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 14, 2008 at 4:18 PM
Karen - good luck with your audition. I would not worry that much about whether you make it or not. The main thing is the experience of auditioning since it's been a while since you have done it. If you do not make it this year, you can audition again next year and do better because of the experience you got this year. I would try to look at it as a win-win for you.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on June 16, 2008 at 8:09 AM
You might want to take the attitude that you're doing this audition to learn how to do auditions. That should take some of the stress off of you and also remind you that you'd be happy to stay with the orchestra you're in now.

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