Monday, December 10, 2007

Old People Holiday Concert

With the exception of the music, I would say that Old People Holiday Concert went very well. I was concerned when I woke up on the morning of the concert to find that it was raining. I knew an elderly women who once skipped her birthday party because she couldn't get her hair to look right, and, after generalizing that incident to the entire elderly population, I feared that the unforeseen inclement weather would inconvenience the group enough that I would be the only person to show up. Surprisingly, nearly the entire orchestra showed up on time. In fact, nearly the entire orchestra and audience showed up an hour before the show.

My dad came to the Wednesday night dress rehearsal since he was out of town for the performance, and he made an excellent observation: the violins are a disaster. Now, as a slightly biased orchestra member, I would say that the cellos carry the group. Thanks to Richard, my crush, we all stay in time and in tune. I am actually afraid of him at this point. He gets indignant when the horns play out of tune, and turns to me for back up. "Did you hear that A??!! Did you hear how sharp it was??!!" I laugh and nod like we are best friends, and then inwardly cringe as I wonder if he notices when I play extra notes or start entire pieces on the wrong string. Richard watches the conductor and then exaggerates his bowing so that all cellos can sync up with his tempo. On the other side of the stage, the violins struggle for power, with each player consciously forgetting that there is a conductor and choosing their favorite tempo. The exception to this scenario is the second violinist, who does not play at all but rather sits there for two hours.

The concert started with the Star Spangled Banner (so seasonal!) For emphasis, all orchestra members were encouraged to stand while we played it. Unfortunately, since it was optional, only five people stood up. Instead of looking patriotic, they looked senile. Our grand finale was Beethoven's First Symphony. It started out scattered but graduated into full-blown chaos about three minutes in. The conductor stopped conducting and pointed to her head, the symbol that we would start the whole piece over again. The violinists did not notice that she had stopped the orchestra, and continued playing while the rest of us waited for them to catch on. The second try did not sound much better, but I think the conductor kept it going for the sake of pride. We squeaked out an ending, to which our bewildered audience lightly applauded. And then we all ate cookies.