If you’re Gonna Play in Texas, You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band

Ok, ok, ok.  I promise I will stop with the Texas song titles after this one……maybe.

I’m actually really liking it here!  I’ve only been here, what, a month?   However, its been SUCH a good time, I can’t even tell you all how much fun I am having!

I was placed in Concert Orchestra this year, and our first concert is Dvorak 9!  While I’ve played it before, can it really ever get old?  It’s such a great piece, and my section is so nice, how could I not enjoy it?    The orchestra is medium sized and has some young players in it, but I’m enjoying the company so much, and the conductor is so competent, I can’t tell you all how happy I am to be there on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I was also placed in the UNT Wind Symphony.  Corporon is great –so gracious and full of energy, its just amazing.   And my section is full of great players.  Well, the whole ensemble is full of really great players.  lol

However, I was also, on agreement of a scholarship, placed in Baroque Orchestra.  (dum dum duuuuuuuum!)

For those of you who know me well (and some who don’t),  you would know that I don’t particularly favor baroque music.  I’ve never really been very good at realizing it in any way or another, and my ornaments always sound like empty fills in the middle of a very awkward jazz quartet.  Even when I was a pianist, I avoided Bach with all the extremity of a child avoiding bedtime.  Essentially, I was a giant brat about it.  And now, here I am, ironically enough in Baroque Orchestra with a baroque bassoon in my hand.

Baroque bassoon……oh baroque bassoon (BB).  Today was my first day actually trying to play the thing.  Now, I do not own an actual BB reed….I was playing on a modified contra reed (yes. you read that correctly) that was still a bit too heavy for the lightness of the BB, but it was all I had.   I also did not have a fingering chart until three minutes into rehearsal.  So, while having a basic knowledge of how the BB works, I was lucky enough to be playing a Vivaldi work in C major.  Otherwise, I would have been in huge trouble.  In the first movement, we modulated, of course, to G major, at which time, I simply dropped out, as I had not yet worked out the fingering for F#.  All of my articulations were far too heavy for the instrument (partly because of the reed) and my jaw hurt afterward from trying to bend the pitch of the contra reed up on an instrument that was not meant for that reed.  Needless to say….I sounded stupid.

It’s really hard to go from one second of playing your instrument at a really high level, something you worked hard for all your life, and now you are back in 6th grade, staring at the fingering chart, trying to figure out where to put your thumbs!  Needless to say, I had a strong lesson in humility and gratefulness to a wonderfully understanding conductor.  Also, I have to give props to the wonderful bassoonist sitting next to me.  While I was dying of laughter at the sheer ridiculousness of my predicament, he was telling me how great I was doing, and showing me fingerings.

I have never liked a place so immediately as I am liking it here.  The teachers are really amazing and quite practical, the conductors are competent and well mannered, and the students have done nothing but impress me with their kindness and the desire to just play music really well.

I hope I continue to like it here.  In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy this experience.


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