This is the betwixt and between time.
Reveille!, the VYO & VYP summer camp, was an intense and wholly absorbing time of music making. When a group of music-loving people get together and focus on it, it becomes like the whole world, and we live it and breathe it. Then, came the concerts at the end of the week, which seemed like the natural culmination of the flow. So, it is a bit like being dunked into cold water to find that it is over, and that “normal” life has to resume.
Now, as school starts up again and strange people all around us seem to believe that other things are just as important as music (!) we get distracted, start thinking in terms of calculus and passive voices and botanical subspecies, and the flourish of Reveille! begins to fade.
But, we are not done with this music yet.
A lot of the music we played during the week of Reveille! is destined for the season’s first big concert at the beginning of October. As the distractions get greater, so too does a different form of excitement build. That adrenalin rush is what we call “concerts.” The ceremonial aspect of a public concert makes it into a completely different experience from playing in a camp amongst our peers.
At a concert, we are really putting ourselves on the line. We are predicting that on October 2nd at St. Mary’s in St. Albans at precisely 8:00 pm, and again at on Sunday, October 4th at 3:00 pm at the Flynn Center; at those precise times and places, we shall all gather together, at our peak of concentration. Despite all the tasks we have to accomplish between now and then, this prediction of the future will happen. All the years of practice and all the hours of rehearsal will emerge as extraordinary skills so that we can coordinate, and offer our astounded public the brilliance of our artistic vision!
Yes, it’s pressure. It’s anxiety that focuses the mind wonderfully.
An actual concert is a more focused and intense short period in time in which we step up to the mark and “do our thing”. And they are great things that we are going to do: A brand new piece by a genuine living musical prodigy, still only 18 years old. A razzle-dazzle show-off violin concerto from our wonderful Sally Bruce. Solid classical music fun from Brahms. Eccentric musical meanderings from Percy Grainger, all topped off by the biggie, Romeo and Juliet in which we’ll strive to get everyone in our audience weeping openly.
Then back into the night, back home to all the other things, strengthened by the knowledge that, yes, we can do this. We can live our lives, but we have acquired the skill to all come together in one place, and deliver something extraordinary that none of us could do by ourselves.
Concert time is coming fast, folks! Show up to rehearsals and keep practicing.
Andrew Massey, VYO Interim Conductor