Friday, May 27, 2011

Orchestra and more Irish Music...

Haley's second orchestra PR*SM had it's concert last weekend. All I can say is "Wow!" I wish I could post the videos I took because they were absolutely amazing...but I won't in the interest of other people's privacy.

After the January concert, the conductor asked a few of the orchestra members what they thought of the music they had just performed. He received replies along the lines of "easy" and "no problem" which kinda got his dander up so when he chose pieces for this spring concert, he made sure to pick selections that would challenge the best of them.

The pieces consisted of a Handel piece for the side-by-side with PR*SM Young Artists (what Haley refers to as "the younger kid are all her age or older), Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings," three movements of Felix Mendelssohn's "Sinfonie in D," and three movements of Antoin Dvorak's "Serenade in E." For the Mendelssohn and Dvorak, I am not talking about versions of the pieces adapted for young orchestra's but the actual works written by these great composers.

When Haley first received her music and I looked at all those notes on the pages, I thought Chinese might have made more sense to me. I didn't see how Haley could ever learn it. The music seemed more difficult than any she had ever learned before. But she rose to the challenge and with some help from her teacher and her practice partner, she learned it and as the mother of the concertmaster noticed, memorized it.

What an amazing experience for her to be able to learn and play such beautiful orchestral music! Listening to the concert brought tears to my eyes.

Back in the fall, I wasn't so sure about this orchestra. The conductor wasn't a "Suzuki-friendly," touchy-feely kind of man. He expected the best from the students every rehearsal and they worked hard for him. He picked difficult pieces and never simplified the fingerings or bowings because they were kids but challenged them to play at a higher level. The sectional rehearsals were demanding and Haley was exhausted every Friday night following 2 hours of intense rehearsals. Some kids might balk at challenge like that but I think all those things made Haley love it even more. I can definitely say she is a better reader and a better player because of the experience. On top of it all, she made some wonderful friends whom she emails and texts (from my phone or iPod now and then).

We are looking forward to a few months of less driving and a different focus to daily practice without two orchestras worth of music to work on but Haley is ready to go right back to it come next fall. Not so sure about the "two orchestras" part but we are keeping our options open.

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