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Tommy Atkinson

Shenandoah Performs!

July 7, 2008 at 12:59 AM

So, this week I played in a festival called Shenandoah Performs, hosted by my alma mater, Shenandoah University in Virginia. I have played there for a few years in the past, but didn't think I would be able to this year because of all of my teaching commitments, but fortunately the conflicts resolved themselves and I was able to join the festival (albeit at sort of the last minute, I just confirmed that I would be playing about a week or so before it began) to play the Berenstein Serenade and Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

The Berenstein Serenade is a piece that I have loved for years, but have never had the chance to hear live, much less perform it. Not only did I get to play in the orchestra, but we had an AWESOME soloist, Anne Akiko Meyers. What struck me most about her playing was the ease with which I could follow her. If you don't know the Serenade that well, it's full of tempo and meter changes, and you really have to keep your wits about you while you're playing it. She made it really easy to play by really attacking the piece like it was chamber music, not just a solo (although, of course her tone was penetrating (in a VERY good way), and soloistic).

Playing Beethoven's 9th is something I can't believe I've never done. 4 years of conservatory and a year of a master's and I've finally performed it. The orchestra was great, especially for only having a few hours of rehearsal over 4 days to learn it (especially since most of us had only gotten the music the day before or of the first rehearsal). The soloists were fantastic. 3 of the 4 are on voice faculty at SU, and the 4th was also a great musician. The choir was small, but they packed a punch. Both nights we were given standing ovations, so I think the performances went well.

Now it's 2 weeks of chamber music coaching and being a counselor to the kids at the Performing Arts Camp at SU. These young musicians are extremely talented and hardworking, and always inspire me to better myself and my art. I know that at the end of these two weeks, just like every summer, I'll be a changed musician because of my students at camp.

From Ethan Hawver
Posted on July 7, 2008 at 2:53 AM
I went to the perfoemance today...i was in like te second row. Anne Akiko Meyers is pretty much my hero right now lol. The Berenstein gave my goosebumps. THe Beethoven rocked too. That orchestra is really really good.


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