Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Night at the Symphony

Yesterday, we went to see the Broward Symphony Orchestra--what a great concert!  As we watched, many thoughts went through my mind.  If you're interested in discovering what the Symphony can teach us about worship, see this post on my theology blog.

The Symphony conductor was the most energetic I've ever seen.  My spouse said, "There's no mistaking her cues."  It was wonderful to watch.  Her enthusiasm kept me engaged and made me want to know what was coming next.

The conductor also plays the piano.  How do I know?  The concert began with her playing a beautiful Liszt piece, the kind that utilizes the full 8 octaves on the keyboard.  Wow.

And then, the orchestra assembled as the piano was wheeled away, and the pianist transformed into the conductor.  And I spent the rest of the night in amazement.

I am used to hearing a single instrument, or at most a few instruments playing together at church.  I am used to hearing my husband practice his violin. 

How rarely I experience a symphony!  How wondrous it is to hear lots of instruments, all playing one piece beautifully.  How much richer it is as a musical experience.

And how much better live.  I've heard many a symphony as recorded music, but I've rarely heard a live symphony.  Wow.

I watched as many of the Symphony members as I could. It fascinated me to see how they played their instruments.  Some sat in a very prim way:  knees pressed together (or against the instrument, if they played cello or bass), no expression on their faces.  One violinist in very high heels sat with her ankle turned and the side of her shoe touching the floor, the other foot normal.  I wondered about that.  Some of the members played with an expression of rapture on their faces.  Some seemed to be approaching it as an aerobic upper body work out. 

I wondered if they had to position themselves so that their bows didn't poke the faces of the people around them.  Maybe it's never a risk, but last night, it looked like it could be.

I also loved seeing all the instruments.  I loved all the different browns of the cellos and basses.  I loved the oddness of the horns and woodwinds.  I felt gratitude that I've spent my life around musical instruments.  I felt a longing to spend more time playing music.

I sat in a place where I could see off the side of the stage, and once again, I was struck by this great facility that an ordinary community college constructed.  It was during a time that's feeling very far away, a time where there was money and will and agreement about the common good.

I'm grateful that these facilities exist, since it may be awhile before we see a chance to build replacements.  I'm grateful for community concerts, where for the price of an eight dollar ticket, I can be transported by a symphony.

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