This past Wednesday I resumed rehearsals with the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra, and we received our music for the upcoming concert. For the first time, our smaller chamber-orchestra-esque winter concert will include winds, which is always exciting. We are playing Leia’s Theme, in tribute to Carrie Fischer, Pavane pour une infante defunt by Ravel (in a similar vein – “precession for a dead princess”), and the first movement from the Lord of the Rings Suite by Johan de Meij, Gandalf.
It won’t surprise anyone that I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement to be playing LotR music in any form, let alone THE ORIGINAL LOTR MUSIC. Which, by the way, has a FANTASTIC viola part. Is every movement like this? I honestly don’t know, but de Meij has given the violas some amazing solos and I can’t get enough.
(I was fantasizing the whole class, as you do, of Prior somehow finding it worthwhile to ask if anyone knew anything about Gandalf’s backstory, perhaps as it might be influencing a part of the music, and I would step up all “Well, his original name was Olorin, and he was one of the Maiar, higher order beings akin to angels or minor gods, and he was among the five Istari, or wizards, sent to Middle Earth by the goddess Nienna to guard against the return of Sauron, and actually he didn’t want to go at all……..” I don’t know why I do this to myself.)
One nice moment I did have courtesy of Prior earned the viola section some laughs and some brownie points, which was wonderful. He was asking the entire violin section why their tone wasn’t unified and why they thought that was, and there was a long silence, and then I piped up in my soft-tentative-question-type-cadenced voice all “placement of the bow???” and he pivoted around and said “And the answer comes from the violas!!! Violins! What is going on!” Everyone laughed and my section looked happy, and I felt fizzy and proud. Before we started playing he said, “let’s start in the same place of the bow, thank you violas!” and as he cued us in he said “thank you, Julia,” and it was kind of great. I feel like I’ve only ever heard him call me Ms. Borthwick, before, that I can remember, but my name sounds so nice in his accent.
It continues to feel like the principal violist likes me? Which is great, because I like her. It would be really nice to be her friend. (Or more than a friend?????? Not something I’ve actually devoted thought to, but hey. Not taking it off the table.)
Because I’m on a super groovy plan to Actually Practice this semester, I hope EYSO will be more enjoyable than ever for my final two seasons. Stay tuned!