Monday, September 13, 2021

Back in the Orchestral Viola Saddle

I played a family-friendly pops concert yesterday with the Champaign Urbana Symphony. It was a Covid-safe space with everybody in the orchestra vaccinated and with all the string players and the audience members masked.

In rehearsal we had to explore logistics, like coordinating bell covers along with trumpet muting and wind instrument changes, but otherwise it felt like a normal and well-organized couple of rehearsals.

It has been a long five hundred some-odd days (some odder than others), and I found that playing as a masked ensemble for a masked audience was perfectly comfortable.

Nobody could see the smiles coming from everyone's mouths, but we could feel them.

It was so inspiring to be sitting in the middle of excellent orchestration--hearing and feeling the brass players behind me, the winds, to the right, and the excellent strings all around.

I was concerned in the middle of the first piece, a Sound of Music medley, that I was going to start crying and get my mask all wet. I know that I wasn't alone.

And when it came time to go to sleep after such a stimulating day, I had one piece after another going through my head, just like in the old days. And I am still having spots that pop up here and there.

The next time I get to play, with another orchestra, is only two weeks away. And I get to play Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony for the first time as a violist, so I have two weeks to practice. I was so excited to find all the musical material that the violas get to play.

I wouldn't say that this aspect of life is "back to normal." I would say that I am experiencing orchestral musical life with a new sense of joy and purpose.

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