I love my orchestra (and other thoughts)
A few weeks ago, I received an email from the Salt Lake Pops Orchestra, a new group in town which was playing a Halloween concert and was in need of a few more low string (cello and bass) players. I might have considered it except it required rehearsals Monday and Wednesday nights with concerts both Friday and Saturday nights of that week. I already had rehearsal on Tuesday and lessons on Thursday and that was more than I can handle in one week. There was a time I may have agreed to do that, but not now with four children and especially not while 6 months pregnant. Oh, and there was this:
“The orchestra will be dressed as ghosts, and there will be a haunted mansion set on the stage. For anyone who will play with us, I have costume/makeup guidelines to pass along.”
That sounds perfectly horrid to me!
I think I’ve only been in one group that actually played a Halloween concert every year where we were supposed to dress up which meant not only finding a costume, but finding a costume that accommodated playing the cello. That was one group too many. Luckily for me, our conductor does such a thing and gets it out of his system with his university orchestra and we can play a normal classical season opener in October. This year’s opener? Wolking Overture, Brahms Double Concerto, Sibelius Symphony.
Nary a mention of Halloween!
Last night for our November concert, we tried something a little outside the box, but it turned out fabulously. Monika Jalili and her Persian Ensemble joined us as guest artists. Monika is a vocalist whose repertoire includes traditional Persian folk tunes as well as Iranian love songs from the 1940s to the 1970s, many of which have been banned since the Iranian revolution of 1979. She was joined last night by a violinist, guitarist, and a percussionist who regularly plays with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. (On a side note, D may now want to play the drums.)
We played Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Procession of the Sardar and a new piece called Dervishes, which was part of a composition contest at the U in September, and got pulled for us after our originally programmed piece had to go back to the composer for revisions and wouldn’t be ready in time. The ensemble played two pieces between ours, then for the second half of the concert, we played Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with the ensemble playing related pieces (I think; they were mostly sung in Persian, Farsi, and who knows what other dialects) in between the four movements. Then we ended by accompanying the ensemble on a traditional Iranian piece Ghoghayeh Setaregan or Dances of the Stars that was really beautiful. I think the entire orchestra went home from rehearsal every Tuesday night humming it. (Click on Monika’s link to hear it.) I think we had a lot of the local Iranian community in the audience last night and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We got some really great feedback. It was really enjoyable to be on stage as well.
And I’m just glad I made it onto that stage! What a week–
DH flew to Ohio Monday afternoon for a sort of family funeral (long story) and didn’t get back until Thursday night, of course after I was supposed to be at dress rehearsal. We got emails last week reminding us that this week we’d be in Libby Gardner Hall Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Wait, what? Thursday? Our dress rehearsals are always on Fridays. Always! I teach on Thursdays, an hour away.
So to make my week a little more complicated, I had to cancel my last two lessons, eat a quick dinner, and try to get back to Salt Lake by 7 p.m. And there were two wrecks on the freeway. Of course! The first slowdown ate up all the extra time I had, but luckily the second one wasn’t nearly so much of a wait. I had a friend standing by to pick me up at home and drop me off at rehearsal so at least I wouldn’t have to find parking (there is none close) and I think I was only 7 or 8 minutes late, all things considered.
Other details from the week:
DH’s car had a dead battery when he got home from the airport so he spent a lot of Friday (his “day off”) getting that taken care of and getting caught up on everything he missed while being gone. He worked all day Saturday and then had to miss the concert to go receive an award at a banquet, so it basically feels like I’ve been parenting all on my own this entire week.
Last Sunday was a wonderful day and I got to sleep in, but the change from daylight savings time hit us hard Monday and despite waking up early every morning, the boys have been up late every single night this week. And I never sleep well when B is out of town. We are all dragging.
There was school stress (which I’d put in more detail if I’d ever write a weekly report again) but which involved two children hitting fractions at the same time and writing, which is never our favorite subject, but which seemed to take an eternity this week. I’ll blame the time change.
Then there was biography stress. Every concert we highlight four members of the orchestra to show the various walks of life people come from to be a part of our symphony. So this time it was my turn. And I stressed over it! They didn’t want a professional music resume, but a more personal telling of our musical experiences and anything else interesting about our lives–in half a page, about 400 words or less. I think I read every single bio that’s already been shared to see what they wrote and how long they made it. Some were definitely longer than 400 words which is probably why I remember a couple of handouts being in 9 or 10 pt. font so I was determined to get it down to 400 words. But I’m wordy, as evidenced already by the length of this post.
And I was stressed that people were actually going to read it! That shouldn’t bother me, after all I have this blog and I’m sure somebody out there still reads it, but still. It was a handout in our program, it went to all the orchestra members as well, and will show up on the symphony website eventually (and maybe I’ll post it here since my mother wants to read it.) I was so stressed about writing it that by the time I was finally happy with it (mostly) and emailed it off Monday night, I realized I’d forgotten to practice that night and it was way too late to start. Oops!
And to top it all off, I stubbed and probably sprained my littlest toe last night (it’s very swollen and purple) about 20 minutes before I had to leave for the concert. So I carried my shoe with me and the boys carried my cello for me and I hobbled onto the stage and sat there through intermission and everything (my shoe next to me just for looks) before I could come home and ice my toe. What a night!
Luckily the weeks ahead are very free. Nothing much is happening and I hope it stays that way!