Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feeling Rusty?

Today we begin our Rusty Musicians rehearsals/concerts. This is new to me in an orchestral setting, though I do something similar a couple of times each year with my family. My two sisters both teach music, but my dad was a pension fund manager and my brother is an architect. The chamber music we play at family get-togethers is sort of a min Rusty Musicians, I guess.

It's easy as a performer to focus on getting the right notes and rhythms, making sure that the quality of the sound is just so, and whether or not you are perfectly in tune. I occasionally have to remind myself that while those efforts are important, it is the expression of music to the audience which is most important. Over the years, I can remember concerts that were technically imperfect but musically extraordinary. A bond of sorts is formed when the music leaps from the stage out into the hall and moves through, bounces off, is absorbed by everyone in the hall hearing and performing the music at the same moment.

I guess that is what should happen tonight with Rusty Musicians, though on a more intimate scale. Having done our "Side by Side" rehearsals and concerts with Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Harford county high school students over the years, I know that it is gratifying not only for the students, but also for us BSO musicians, to make musical connections by sitting next to each other and by experiencing great music together. So I guess I have done a version of Rusty Musicians with the BSO after all, only with Developing, not Rusty Musicians.

I bet some of the Rusty Musicians will be nervous tonight, not knowing whether or not they will play "well enough," so to speak, to be on stage with us. Don't worry, Rusty Musicians! We'll have fun, probably laugh a little at all the missed notes (ours as well as yours,) and enjoy the camaraderie. (Sometimes, being somewhat perfectionist, we wonder if we are good enough, too!)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg,

    I played with the BSO last night at Strathmore, 2nd Horn in the first group at 6:00 pm. I have to say it was absolutely thrilling. The sound we made together was exquisite. Who ever gets to hear it from within the orchestra? Last night I did and I didn't want to leave the stage. I was hooked.

    The professional horn players were extremely welcoming and friendly. Thank you Phil, Beth and Bruce for letting me play with you. It was a phenomenal experience for me! I swear my playing improved 50% just by being next to you!

    The hall was glorious when seen from the stage. The applause for us was beautiful and warm. I thought I was going to cry.

    Playing under the baton of Marin Alsop was the biggest thrill of all. I was so worried I would not be able to follow a professional conductor, but in fact she was so clear and expressive in her conducting that it was not at all an issue.
    Afterwards she came to each music stand and thanked all the rusty musicians personally. Very classy and appreciated.

    I had a serious case of butterflies all day before the concert, worrying about whether I had practiced enough and whether I would choke just from the stress of it all. But I didn't. It wasn't stressful. It was just a blast.

    I was so excited afterwards my husband had to hold my hand or I would have floated away.

    Thank you Baltimore Symphony! Thank you Marin Alsop! Please do this again soon.