Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

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Acoustics

January 6, 2009

My high school auditorium was not built for acoustics. Orchestra,Band and Choir concerts held in there were always interesting. Our teachers taught us that we really had to use our eyes to watch the conductor instead of depending on what we heard everyone else playing.

It was our turn to host the Regional Symphony competition. We asked extra students to come in and help us guide the visiting groups to their places. I happened to be part of three groups at the competition. My High School Orcestra, the Jordan Symphony, and the Utah Youth Symphony. I knew that I would be running and juggling my schedules, but since we were all playing in the same place, I knew that the times wouldn’t be a problem.

My High School played well, we enjoyed ourselves, and it was our home turf. We knew how the auditorium worked, and we used our eyes as Cindy (our director chose to go by her first name) led us through the pieces. We had practiced often in the room, and it showed.

Next up was the Jordan Symphony. We didn’t perform quite as well, because not everyone in the group had played in such a difficult arena before. Not everyone remembered to watch the conductors closely, and we ended up with stragglers at the end. Cindy was one of the directors however, so she had talked to us beforehand about watching her.

When it came time for me to join the Utah Youth I expected things to go as well as my previous groups. UYS was the premier youth group in the Valley, pulling kids from hours away for early Saturday morning rehearsals. We even had a few college freshmen and sophomores participating. It was my favorite group. We played very advanced music and I enjoyed every moment.

As we took the stage, I forgot to mention to the director that the room had horrible acoustics and we wouldn’t be able to hear each other play. Pretty much, you could only hear yourself. Most of the group members had never played at my High School, but we were known to be the best. As we began to play however, our confidence evaporated. Our advanced music included very difficult passages that had to be timed perfectly, suddenly we couldn’t hear across the stage to know when it was our turn to play. The director’s face turned a bright shade of red as she frantically waved her arms in increasingly larger patterns. She attempted to keep us together by sheer will power alone.

As I went to Jordan Symphony practice on Wed., the directors cheered and we all laughed at the difficult time we all had at playing the Hall. We talked about how funny it was when we would fall apart for a short time, but the directors told us how proud they were that we did our best.

On Saturday, I headed to UYS expecting the same jovial feelings to exist. Our director stood up and asked if anyone had comments about our performance. I raised my hand and laughing stated how funny I thought it was when we fell apart.

Never have I wanted to sink into the earth and hide my head forever more than the moment I stopped laughing to look around at my fellow members. The anger in the eyes of our director told me what a horrid mistake I had made. To them, music was a very serious business. We were there to play advanced music and get top marks. We were the premier group in the valley, after all. To have a performance as bad as the one we had experienced was inexcusable. And for me to have called our apparent failure laughable was a huge mistake in their eyes. I had committed treason against our perfection.

The voice of the director cut through the silence with an icy edge. “Would you like to explain yourself and your laughter, or would you rather find yourself excused from our presence?” It was then that I realized that I was there for the music only. I apologized to the group and vowed to myself that I would join more “lesser” groups who could laugh. I was part of UYS for the next two years, but you better believe that while I was there, I kept my mouth shut.

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