Monday, January 21, 2013

Catching Up - Orchestra

This semester has been one of firsts for our little violinist.  Sixth grade is all about getting used to the instrument, but seventh begins the process of auditioning and solo and ensemble competitions and such.  This year we had to find a new private violin instructor for Maggie.  She loved the young lady who helped her last year, but she was a high-school student who moved on to college, so we were back at square one.  Unlike last year, I didn't wait to start calling, and we found a new instructor pretty quickly.  Her new teacher, Mrs. W, is a bit more experienced with teaching, and although Maggie lamented the lost of her tutor who was her "friend," I think she is learning a lot with her new instructor.

The first audition this year was for NCHO - North Central Honor Orchestra.  (The kids call it Nacho.)  The auditions were in our home district, so very much unlike what I did with choir auditions at that age, we were assigned an audition time, and we just went over there at her designated time.  There was an area set aside for practicing, so she went through her music a couple of times, and then we got in line.  The violin audition was a two-part process, since there were so many violins auditioning.  She made it past the first one with no problem, and got put on the list for the second round.  We went out and found a place to sit and wait in the hallway of the school.  (Note to self, next year, bring a lawn chair!)  When the time came for the second audition I asked her if she wanted me to go wait in line with her, and she said it was okay if I just waited for her where I was - so I did.  She felt like she did okay on the audition piece, but not so well on the sight reading.  When the results came out, she had made it - sixteenth chair for second violin!  Woo-hoo!

For the NCHO concert they had a Friday and Saturday set aside.  The kids spent all day Friday and Saturday morning rehearsing with their guest conductor, and then Saturday afternoon they had their performance.

Oh.  My.  Goodness!  I must say, I was stunned at what this group of kids sounded like.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I was such a proud parent.  I mean, I know it wasn't the London Philharmonic or anything, but these kids have only been playing a year!  Here are the links to their performance on YouTube - they played four pieces.  Maggie says if you only listen to one she prefers Allegro Gustoso, but Gracie likes the Rain Festival!

1.  String Explosion

2.  The Huron Carol

3. Allegro Gustoso
4.  Rain Festival

There you go - almost as good as being there!  (Not really.)

One of my favorite pieces that Maggie is learning now is called something like Table for Two - it's a sheet of music that two musicians place on a table between them, and each read the music from their direction.  Here's Maggie and her instructor playing it at one of her lessons.  (There are three spots where they stopped for a moment and restarted, and I decided to cut those out so the video wouldn't run five minutes. Anyway - here it goes:)

Our final orchestra event this year was the fall concert.  I didn't get a video of the seventh grade - my phone spazzed out in the middle and I had to reboot, but the final number was "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" performed by the combined seventh and eighth grade orchestras.

And that's brought you up to date on our musical talent!

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