On February 7, we will give three in-school performances and on February 9, a final public concert at Shepaug Valley School. Here is the info on the ASAP website. The students will sit side-by-side with Waterbury Symphony musicians. The first rehearsal with the symphony is this Wednesday!
The group plays most of the repertoire together and there are two pieces that are played by the advanced group (11 students). The repertoire ranges from Bach to American folk-ish style.
I'm mainly coaching the advanced group on Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.3 (the last movement) and Paganini Variations. Thanks to my colleagues from Camp Encore/Coda and Chicago who gave us suggestions and even sent us the music! They are challenging but totally worth the effort. I hope the students like the pieces, too. As an orchestra coach I like to emphasize the importance of being part of a group -- not sticking out but blending well with others.
As I work with the young musicians, I notice how mature they are when they play. Sometimes they like to fool around during the sessions but when I let them play, they are very serious about it and I like the energy that comes out of their playing.
This is probably the only place where I would conduct actually. It's fun but in the end I feel like it's easier if I play. It's more work to show by hands what to do musically...
When I was in high school, the school's string ensemble had an opportunity to play with the local professional symphony. It was not side-by-side but we all sat behind the professionals. I still remember how I felt -- one word: awe. And the professional atmosphere of the rehearsal was incredible. I was totally intimidated. Now, I hope that we, as WSO, won't be scary for the ASAP kids!
One more session tomorrow with the three of us, and then dress rehearsal, in-school concerts and the public concert. This is a big week for us!