Saturday, June 13, 2009

Road trip with the Symphony

I got home about half an hour ago from a trip to Cade's Cove with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO). The most grueling part was the 2-hour bus trip including lots of curvy roads and lots of going 5 mph because of heavy traffic (but heavy traffic = bigger audience so it's all good!). Once we got there it was great. The scenery was beautiful, and the people there seemed to really appreciate it. As we (orchestra members) made our way to the buses after it was over, many people thanked us and said they enjoyed the music.

The concert was part of a celebration of the 75th annivesary of the Smoky Mountains National Park* (did I say "of" enough times?). The performance featured some patriotic tunes, an original composition by James R. Carlson commissioned by the KSO, a work dedicated to the people of Johnstown, PA (penned by KSO's music director, Lucas Richman), and lots more. We also had a special guest--U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander played the piano with us on three numbers. Out of all the music the symphony played, my absolute favorite was an arrangement of Chopin's Prelude in C Minor. It started with Senator Alexander playing the traditional version and then, after a 2-bar drum solo, the symphony joined in with a 70s-style version. It. Was. AWESOME. When we ran through it at last night's rehearsal, I immediately thought of Walter Murphy's A Fifth of Beethoven from Saturday Night Fever. After totally geeking out, that is.

Oh! I must mention the John Williams piece--we played the overture from the John Wayne movie The Cowboys. The film came out in 1972 and, as my stand partner pointed out, you can already hear a little bit of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and other Williams classics. I was thinking the same thing when he said it--I heard a melody reminiscent of Princess Leia's theme in one spot and the rhythmic drive of the entire work reminded me of Indiana Jones!

All in all, everything went really well. It was a gorgeous day and though it was hot it wasn't very humid (a blessing this time of year in the Southeast). Also, the ominous clouds didn't make an appearance until everything was over (thank you, ominous clouds!) and the ride home was quicker than the ride up to the Cove! :-D

I think I'll reward myself with some ice cream. What am I rewarding myself for? I don't know exactly. But I like ice cream and I shall have some! I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

*It was not to commemorate the mountains themselves as I originally thought. ;-)

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