Monday, November 21, 2022

The Joys of a Local Chamber Orchestra

Yesterday after church, we went to a concert, the kind of concert put together by a group of skilled musicians who live in the community and have found each other.  My spouse knows two of the musicians because they all sing in the church choir.

Yes, there are days here in western North Carolina when I feel like I've fallen through a hole in time:  "People still do this?  How cool!"  Of course, I went to many small symphonies and chamber orchestras in south Florida too.  I love these examples of creative types who aren't trying to break into big time in the big city, that aren't posting TikToks of themselves in the hopes of getting the notice of huge masses of people.

I like a symphony orchestra that isn't afraid to put animal ear headbands on when they play Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf."  I like a symphony orchestra that's raising money for an animal rescue, and so they've chosen an animal theme that threads through the 4 pieces of music.

The orchestra led with "Peter and the Wolf," and I realized that I was hearing the first piece of classical music that I loved.  I have a memory of a book with gorgeous illustrations, and I remember hearing the music while reading the book.  Did the record come with the book or did my classical music loving parents make sure that I was aware of the music?

The last two pieces featured a special guest appearance by cellist Christine Lee Lance.  Roughly seven audience members got up and positioned themselves to see better and make recordings.  One seemed to act so enthralled that I wondered if she was someone famous, while realizing that I can only name 1 cellist, Yo Yo Ma.

Of course, seven people may have reacted with more enthusiasm because they are related to her or know her--or maybe they just wanted to stretch their legs.  I was surprised by how many people came out on a Sunday afternoon in November to hear a chamber orchestra, which meant that the fellowship hall of the church was packed.  Those of us who sat in the back couldn't see the instruments as well as those who were at the front.

The concert lasted 70 minutes, which is about the extent of my attention span for most concerts.  I feel like that's a personal failing, but there it is.  I prefer a concert that's shorter, made up of shorter pieces, even as I do appreciate/understand the artistry of larger pieces.

It's a blustery, cold period here in the mountains, so we came home to a pot of chili that we had started earlier.  It was delicious, a satisfying end to a lovely afternoon.

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