The orchestra concert was last night. I was nervous. Michael went with me, walked my bass into the venue, then we began a short warm up of problem spots in the music. It came time for "Something's Coming" from "Selections from West Side Story" at rehearsal M. It was the spot where the conductor kept slowing down. It was the spot where the other orchestra members quietly insisted that I ignore the conductor and just keep the driving bass rhythm going. They would follow me.
We practiced it then went further into the piece. When we stopped, I asked the conductor if that was the rhythm he was going to conduct as it was the slowest we had ever played it. Suddenly, confirmation of that fact came from the oboes and the French horns and the trumpets. My peeps! The conductor replied to keep the rhythm he sets at the start of the song and to IGNORE him if he slows down. I had his permission. That has never happened to me my entire career!
The piece was the second to the last in the concert. I put it out of my mind so I could focus and the first three pieces with the young violin and cello students went well. After that, not so much. Michael thought it was fine. If mom was there, it would have driven her nuts. The next piece, the violins messed up the beginning. The next piece, there were also some problems but not horrible.
Now I am getting a bit nervous. Is this going to work? Can they hear little me across the room in the violin section who are driving the theme? My hands were getting tired and sweaty. "Selections from Victory at Sea" by Richard Rodgers. It was the piece I had hoped would be cut. Very brassy. We never played it well. Ironically, it was probably the best performed piece of the night.
It was time. I looked over at Michael and he gave me a thumbs up. Deep breath. The opening. Fine. "I Feel Pretty." Great. "Maria" featured a solo fantastic bass rhythm and I nailed it. Confidence. It was time, I turned the page while counting two measures rest. Here we go. I wiped my wet hand on my pants. I was ready.
The conductor took it a bit quicker than ever. Fine. I never slowed down. I never looked back but I did notice that the conductor was keeping up with me! I nailed it FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. It was a lot of very fast notes all over the fingerboard. I began to feel the sweat at my temples then in my hair then beginning to drip on my black blouse. The next songs, piece of cake. Slow. The next two pieces? Easy. I began to breathe again.
The final piece of the night was a Strauss overture from "Die Fledermaus." It was lovely with well know tunes of waltzes and dances. It was a lovely way to end the concert.
All in all, there were problems during the concert but I was thrilled that I was not part of the problems. My solos and exposed parts went well.
I am taking the summer off from playing with the orchestra. Michael will have me home on Wednesday nights until September then we begin again.