Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ventura College Symphony Orchestra

I had mentioned in a previous blog that I had enrolled in school and was going to begin taking classes to finish up my AA so that I could transfer to Channel Islands to complete my BA and get my teaching credentials. With that said...

First day of school was last night. This class is Beginning Orchestra - Wind Instruments. When I registered for the class I imagined that I would be in a room with just woodwind instruments...

I arrived at the campus an hour early to pick up my parking permit and to get the lay of the land. I found my classroom 30 minutes prior to the beginning of class (7:00 p.m. - 9:50 p.m.).

I opened the door - peaked in and then slowly backed out. I thought I was in the wrong place. There were already several people in the classroom. My ears were ringing with the sounds of scales coming from Cellos; violins; Basses; a French Horn; a Flute and an Oboe. I stood in the hall for about 10 minutes and then decided to open the door again. This time my heart was racing. Talk about first day jitters... A lady sitting at a table spotted me and invited me in stating that they don't bite - they only nibble - and then she smiled. I thought "okay... this isn't so bad".

She asked me to sign in and indicate what instrument I play. I don't remember the conversation - but I remember disclosing that I hadn't played in 25 years. She had a slightly worried look and then handed me 6 pieces of music for Clarinet - 2nd part and then directed me to the first seat in the clarinet section.

I looked over the music. Two pieces by Mendolssohn - one is a symphony the other is a piano concerto. There were two other Concertos - don't remember who the composers are. There is a Jane Eyre Suite (absolutely beautiful) and one other piece that we didn't get to.

The first 30 minutes were introductions and attendance - nice way to calm my nerves.

There was a gentleman about the same age as dad who sat next to me. Very interesting man. He asked me about my music back ground. I revealed the lack of practice over the past several years and begged him not to listen to me. Inside I was terrified that I would be discovered as a fraud. I had been looking at the music and couldn't remember the fingering for any of the notes. The symphony clarinet part was written for an A clarinet and I had to transpose the notes in my head - that was a nightmare. I bailed out a couple times on the conductor who wanted to hear my sound and I pled with him - explaining that I was having difficulty getting any air through my instrument. He laughed and skipped over me.

Later in the evening he asked me how I was doing; reassuring me that the strength in my mouth would return in no time and encouraged me to practice every day. He then asked me if my mouth hurt. I told him no, but my thumb hurt from holding the instrument. The whole orchestra laughed.

My partner - the older man - told me that I have a beautiful sound when I play and that I needed to play a little louder. He also went up to the conductor (the instructor) and told him that I play beautifully...

At one point during rehersal I magically remembered my fingering and began to feel elation. I also felt a little euphoric... it was odd and at one point I thought I was going to burst into tears.

I guess I didn't realize how much I loved to play the clarinet and how much I missed it.

I had been asked by several members of the church to audition for the Ventura Orchestra and I had always told them no because I hadn't played in so long. Even though this is not the Ventura Orchestra, this is a start. I think I finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up.

We have two concerts this term:

October 24, 2009
December 12, 2009


Katscratchme said...

How exciting! I never learned to play an instrument.

Anonymous said...

Yay! That is so much fun! It sounds like you are going to have a fun semester!
And, Emily, you DID learn to play an instrument! You sing!

Trillium said...

I went back to college (Moorpark) when I was your age. Fun! (Life begins at 40!)