Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surprise Symphony

Thank you, Haydn.

You ever have one of those days where everything you planned ends up falling apart?  And then your "Plan B" disappears, too, and you're left in a kind of "What do I do know?" position?  That was Friday for me.  It was just one of those days where life decided to march to its own drummer.  Not one to surrender my Friday so easily, though, before the night grew very old I remembered a concert my music teacher had mentioned.  It was something to do, at least, and figuring it was better than the alternative (not to mention the fact that I love orchestras), I convinced my brother to hop into the car with me, and we wandered into the Eisenhower Jr. High auditorium to see the Taylorsville-SLCC Symphony Orchestra.

Both being in that school and hearing the orchestra brought back a lot of memories.  I had actually played in this same orchestra for a few weeks my first semester of college after high school, but for a number of reasons I quit and never went back.  I missed being in any orchestra, though; a goal I set for after my mission was to join one again at some point.

My plan was to wait until next semester, at the very earliest, before doing this.  And even up till about 9:00 Friday night, if you had suggested to me that I would be in an orchestra before the new year, I might have stopped listening.  Regardless of time, the greatest factor keeping me back was having not even touched my violin in over two years.

Well, at this concert I ran into Daniel, an old buddy from the high school orchestra.  He mentioned that he would be joining the Taylorsville-SLCC Symphony this Tuesday, and would need a stand partner.

And all of a sudden my plans changed.  Surprise!

I figured, though, that before I jumped in too deep I ought to at least try playing my violin and see if I even could anymore.  So on Saturday I finally dug out my old friend, Enesco.  I couldn't believe what I found: that faithful violin had stayed in tune all this time, and didn't seem to have aged a day since I left!

Oh, but the bow. . . .  I guess at some point it just exploded.  But there was at least enough hair left to play!

I must have played for about ten minutes . . . and it sure hurt!  But other than that, it was like riding a bike.  I was rusty, of course, but thankfully I could still play, and that's what mattered to me.  I could get my body used to it again, and I could get that bow re-haired.

Tuesday came a bit too quickly, and I began having second thoughts about whether I really wanted to do this.  All the way up till rehearsal time, I debated with myself . . . but finally decided to just go and give it a shot.

In total contrast to my habits of senior year, I was one of the first to show up--a whole half-an-hour early.  I actually had to ask if I was in the right place, because no stands, chairs, or instruments were even out yet!  As I helped set up, and throughout the rest of the evening, I was asked who I was and what I played.  It was a much more positive experience from the last time I had tried this orchestra; everyone was so nice, and despite my unpracticed state they were very welcoming of another second violin (some, including the conductor, even excited to have another; I guess they've been short).  There were also some interesting reactions to my crazy bow, but Daniel's mom, one of the first violins, happened to have an extra one handy and let me borrow it for the evening.

And though I sat in the back and every song was difficult for me to play, I quickly was reminded once more of my deep love for the orchestra.  There were the chaotic sounds of instruments being tuned, and various others being practiced in the minutes before everyone was ready to start . . . the smell of rosin on my hands . . . the uniformity of bows all moving together . . . the mess of sight-reading new pieces . . . the breathtaking feeling of playing a theme just right. . . .  It was all there, and these things told me I could grow back into the violin.  They were the little things I had forgotten about, but without which the orchestra wouldn't have been so magical. 

So, here I am.  I'm in the Taylorsville-SLCC Symphony now.

Sometimes it's alright when our plans get changed.

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