Last weekend? At orchestra camp?

Orchestra weekend statistics:

  • Violins flattened by falling piece of wood propped up against bathroom doorframe because motion detector kept turning on fan the noise of which disturbed the third violins rehearsing in that room: 1

  • Exploding double-basses: 1 (A woman knocked her instrument against a chair and the back split off).
  • Hours I thought I might be having a heart attack because I mistook my back pain (from tension and sitting and playing cello for hours and hours) for chest pain: approx. 24 I told Beta how much I loved her, just in case.
  • Number of doors in my room: 0 (the hostel was under rennovation. I stole two mattresses and used them for doors instead. Less dangerous than big boards.)
  • Number of nights I woke up at 3 and couldn’t fall back to sleep because the other guy in my room was snoring: 1. At breakfast I asked him how he had slept and he said he thought okay, and asked if he had snored and I said a little and he said, I must have rolled over onto my back, you should have just gone, TsTsTs and I would’ve woken up and rolled back over onto my side and I said, I’ll remember that next time.
  • Number of evenings I sat around with the other adults (there turned out to be about ten or so of us, both teachers and “musicians”) talking, and drinking, more drinking than talking as I waited for something to occur to me to contribute to the conversation, and then someone makes fun of turtles as pets and I go onto a 30 minute monologue about what great pets tortoises make (which monologue is cited with humorous effect during the following night’s conversation): 1
  • Number of times I grabbed my wonderful co-cellist and dragged her out to my car and showed, then demonstrated my tin whistle to her (because tin whistles had come up in a chat we were having), while my aura stood beside myself watching and shaking its head: 1
  • Number of women who think tin whistles are hot instruments: ?

Beta and I enjoyed the weekend and got a lot out of it, I think. We concluded that musicians are cool. The kids were well-behaved. There was a pub attached to the hostel. I built a bonfire where the girls roasted bread dough on sticks, and the boys wrapped their dough around their sticks, added dough testicles and went hr-hr-hr. The orchestra sounded good in its first public performance/rehearsal/whatever, in a freezing cold church. A musician’s life is a hard one, don’t let anyone tell you different.

If an orchestra is composed of disparate sub-organisms/organs that work together to produce the effect of a larger organism, then the conductor is the eyes, ears and brain (ours impressed me very much). The harp, I think, is the glitter gland, showering the rest of us with wonderfulness. The double basses provided the heartbeat.

I felt like the ass.

The Albinoni piece we placed went well. Mozart (Mitridate) was going well, until I thought to myself, THIS IS GOING WELL! whereupon my mind went blank and I turned into a mime. What’s THAT one doing honey, fighting an invisible wind? Climbing an invisible staircase? No, he’s trapped inside an invisible box. Or wait, he’s playing the cello.

My problem, at times, was the notes were too fast for me. At other times, it was trying to devote 50% of my attention to the conductor, 50% to my sheet music, 50% to my bow direction (to avoid stabbing someone or getting stabbed), 50% to turning sheet music pages at the right time, and 50% to not getting confused by my cello teacher, who sat next to me but played the 3rd violin part on his cello because I gather we had too many cellos and not enough violins.

It is a lot of fun.

5 responses to “Last weekend? At orchestra camp?

  1. excellent title. i’m all smiles at you.

  2. Yes, the title is definitely a good one, and we won’t go anywhere near asking about whether anyone did anything with her flute…

    But, I’m terribly impressed that you did this, Mig. You’re a regular foot soldier in the service of Art.

  3. When’s the CD coming out?

  4. oh mig darling. that question of ‘this is going well’ is one i know too well and one which has wrecked too many concerts for me. as a new meditator you would probably relate to the idea that it is getting beack into the ego and therefore, suddenly doing a sort of imitation of yourself. As your faraway NOT teacher I am proud of you to have encountered this so early in your career. It took me another five years of yoga and therapy to know and possibly sometimes get out of it and back into the music which is the anti-ego!

  5. mig

    When I had that little experience, Ruth, I thought of you and hoped you’d have something useful to say about it. Thanks!