One of those weeks

We’ve had a few interesting weeks at the MSO. And then there was this week…

Last week was particularly interesting for the lead viola operator, who had to cope with the near-impossibilities of the Adams Chamber Symphony. We did our second and last performance on that on Saturday night.

Sunday morning we got up for a rehearsal for a kiddie concert that afternoon, featuring Peter Duschenes of the Canada-based Platypus Theatre. Considered on its own merits, it was a pretty good show. The concept – introducing the various instrument groups – is hardly original, but it seemed to “work” for the kids. Such shows are seldom fun for the orchestra, though, being either pastiches of familiar works, new compositions of a derivative nature, or a combination of the two.

Then we had six more kiddie concerts between Tuesday and Thursday. Not a bad schedule in terms of services – no evening services and leaving some of each afternoon free – but deadly dull to play. To make matters even more uninteresting, the longest piece on the program was a suite (or perhaps a sour) from the Disney Aladdin; a logical choice for that particular program but hardly what we all thought we’d be doing when we first fantasized about becoming musicians.

Then this weekend we have 3 Pops concerts, including one on SuperBowl Sunday (at least it’s before the game). Our Pops series have shrunk substantially since I’ve been here; this year we only have five sets, not all of which are three-peats. This weekend is the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who sound great but whose performance is enhanced not at all by a large orchestra lurking in the background playing very boring charts. The first half was Gershwin; Cuban Overture (which for season reason we do a lot), An American in Paris, which has one of the shortest and least gratifying lead viola operator solos I know, and a very grim medley of tunes from Porgy and Bess by Robert Russell Bennett, the first viola part of which is littered with dead mosquitoes (mosquiti?) from a particularly sultry outdoor performance in Fond du Lac many years ago.

Is it good news or bad news that we get paid exactly the same for being bored to tears as we do for having a good time?


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