Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the last concert of the summer

Dedicated to the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra

Sunday was the PBSO concert, which was everything I'd dreamed of and more.

My excitement had been growing and becoming more powerful over the past two months and by Friday I felt like I was about to burst. On Sunday I was dancing all over the place.

I started getting ready midmorning (putting on my outfit and makeup).

Mom and I drove down to St. Andrews (the concert was in the Van Horne Ballroom at the Fairmont Algonquin Hotel) and I had a moment just before I went in where I almost did burst, I was so excited.

I chatted with the harpist, Molly (one of Lynn's daughters, who gave me a huge hug--my feet left the ground), as she tuned her instrument.

I sat in the front row and kept looking around for Lynn (who was playing principle second violin). Then she came in from the room that the orchestra was using as backstage and I jumped up, ran to her and gave her a gigantic hug. We chatted for a bit before she went to finish getting ready.

A few minutes later Alice (the concertmaster) stood, Lee-Ann (oboe) played her A and the musicians tuned. Seconds later Trond (the conductor, who's also a member of two of my favourite music groups) walked down the aisle and took his place at his music stand (I was clapping like mad).

The first piece on the programme was the overture from Preciosa by Weber which I've been dancing to for the last two months. I don't know how I managed to stay in my seat but somehow I managed.

They performed the first two movements of Bruch's first violin concerto with a different soloist for each movement. The second movement was so beautiful that I just had to close my eyes and savour it. I came close to tears several times--BRAVA, MALIKA! **sniffle**

Lynn and Gene (her husband) did a piece together called Clapping Music which is an experimental piece by a guy named Steve Reich. The piece takes a simple rhythm (in this case three claps, two claps, one clap, two claps, and three claps) and plays it up and has fun with it by moving one part (Gene's) around while the other part (Lynn's) stays the same (not easy). Right from the start I thought, "hey, I could dance to this!" For months I'd been concerned about the Preciosa, the Blue Danube, and Thunder and Lightning and whether I'd be able to stay in my seat during those pieces but I should've been concerned about Clapping Music because I could barely stay in my seat. Here's a video of it. It's not the same performance, but it's just as good/cool (and this time I can actually dance to it).

After the intermission they played Fauré's Pélleas et Mélisande Suite, which was gorgeous. I've loved the Sicilienne for years but it was one of those pieces where I didn't know the name--until June fourth (I think I wrote about that at the time).

Then three of the musicians who also play in a fiddle band called Pieces of String (in this case, Rosa Bragdon, Nadine Biss, and Frank Schuth) played a reel called Réel de Montebello which I'd heard previously when the band played in Calais (that time it was Nadine with Sam, Frank, and Henry Schuth).

The orchestra finished up with two classic pieces by Johann Strauss, Jr.: The Blue Danube and Thunder and Lightning. I couldn't keep still during either one and swayed along with The Blue Danube and tapped my hands against my knees in a one-two rhythm during Thunder and Lightning.

Trond played his violin during The Blue Danube and hummed the beginning of one of my favourite parts--and really surprised me. I thought it was so cool and unexpected that I did my own take on that part when I danced to the waltz that night (during the concert I felt that I was wasting it since I was just sitting and swaying along with the beat--and not dancing to it).

Afterwards I talked with Alice, Lynn, Gene and Molly and I finally told Gene that he's one of my favourite composers (Beethoven is the other one) and about the impact that a piece that he wrote, March of the Giant Stumps, has had on my dance and music life. I also told them about how I'd decided to go to the concert the day after my ill-fated PBSO rehearsal.

Then I left to brave the heat back to the car (it wasn't a long walk--only a few metres--but I just about roasted). As soon as I opened the car door I started laughing and didn't stop for several minutes.

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