Monday, October 25, 2010

Musical Memories

On Saturday night, Samuel and I attended our local orchestra's fall concert.



It made me kinda nostalgic for the old days...

For many years classical music was a big part of our lives. It started when as a family we attended the community orchestra's free concerts. The performances inspired our children to take up instruments themselves. Katie played flute as well as piano, Seth and Alyssa played violin and piano. Neal was even recruited to play percussion for the junior orchestra for awhile. It was a time of running to music lessons, rehearsals, recitals and orchestra performances. Through my children's involvement in the music culture of our area, I was drawn in and had a secret dream come true. I didn't have much musical training except for a few years of piano lessons and music classes in school. I had always secretly wished I could play in an orchestra. Though I play several instruments I didn't think I was proficient enough on any of them to play with an orchestra. When Katie was a teenager she began playing flute in our local community orchestra and they were in need of a percussionist. I was recruited despite my  lack of formal training. They were desperate, weren't they? This began years of participation in the orchestra playing timpani (aka "kettle drums") and percussion instruments, essentially teaching myself how to read orchestral music, play the instruments and tune the timpanis. It was a period of musical growth and gains in musical maturity that I am so grateful to have had.

I continued with the orchestra for a number of years even after my kids all moved on to other places and other musical venues. I left the percussion section just a couple seasons ago because I simply had too many irons in the fire. Attending the concerts always makes me a little nostalgic for those days.

Here is a bit of one of the concerts where I had a complex part in a performance that was both challenging and fulfilling for me as a naive musician. This little clip is from a modern symphony that was based on Dante's Divine Comedy- The Inferno. I am on the far left playing timpani and Seth is in the violin section.



Seth had more involvement in orchestras than any others in our family. Besides being proficient on the violin he also played viola and dabbled with the cello for awhile. He played with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and we attended many concerts in the big city when he played.




A highlight of this time in our lives was when the orchestra traveled to Europe for a concert tour and Seth got to play in concerts at spectacular venues like this neo-classical hall in Tuscany. I'll never forget sitting under the starry sky with the other parents listening to this orchestra -made up of our own offspring, our little baby boys and girls- playing Greig. It was magical.



Those days were long ago and yet not, somehow...




...and that little boy is still playing music. He needs to get himself into an orchestra again though... (Seth!)
Because I need to attend more concerts and the little boys need more inspiration.


Samuel shows signs of carrying some of the same musical inclinations. He has already composed several pieces on the piano.


Maybe he is my hope for the future for more music in my life.

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