After a quick breakfast, I grabbed the few remaining items in my room and put them on the back seat of my car- my laptop, a few toiletries, and, of course, my violin. When I finished loading, I shared hugs and “goodbyes” with my family before getting in the car and turning the key in the ignition. I took a deep breath and said a prayer as I pulled out of the driveway. This was a big day for me. I was beginning a twenty-hour drive across the country to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime: to play with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as its first Fellow.
|Tami Lee Hughes - BSO Fellow|
A million thoughts raced through my mind.
Would I remember everything I practiced? Would I be able to follow the conductor? Would my sound blend with the orchestra? When I walked onto the Meyerhoff stage thirty minutes later, I was overcome with emotion. The hall is even more breathtaking from the stage than it is from the audience . . . the tiers of balcony cascading from the ceiling, the plush red velvet seats, and the beautiful wooden paneling onstage. I paused for a moment to enjoy everything my eyes could see.
After tuning, we began rehearsing “The Golden Age of Black and White,” a program that featured classic tunes from the 1940’s and 1950’s with BSO SuperPops Conductor Jack Everly and vocalists Karen Murphy, Kristen Scott, and Chapter Six. When Maestro Everly began the rehearsal, I knew I would love performing this concert. His baton seemingly became a magic wand, transporting all of us to an age of black and white television, girl singers, doo-wop groups, swing and jazz tunes, and even early rock and roll. I was captured by the music- the nostalgia, passion, energy, and warmth infused in rich luxurious melodies. It reminded me of the music my grandmother played on the radio when I was young.
On the night of our debut performance, I arrived at the hall a few hours early. There was a buzz backstage as orchestra musicians, singers, stage technicians, and other staff members prepared for the performance. Although I didn’t feel nervous, I was very excited. I felt a swift rush of energy as Maestro Everly gave the opening downbeat. With the audience lights dimmed, the stage came to life. Lights, costumes, singers, and instrumentalists filled the stage with Maestro Everly at the center of it all waving his magic wand. By the time we played my favorite tune of the night, Mambo Italiano, we were in full swing! The energy was so contagious I wanted to get out of my seat and dance. For a brief moment I imagined I was in a fiery red dress doing the mambo in the streets of Sorrento. A quick glance at the audience assured me that I was not the only one dreaming of dancing in Italy!
So far, I’m having the time of my life and I love every minute of being part of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra!