Guesting with the Northshore Youth Symphony Orchestra

December 8, 2008

Many thanks to Mrs. Larson, Mr. Dolan, and Mr. Pavasaris for inviting me to play in NYSO! It was a lot of fun! We played:

  • Old Churches by Michael Colgrass
  • Galloping Ghosts by William Ryden
  • Canticle of the Creatures by Jim Curnow

They were all great pieces, very fun to play, and everything went smoothly, except that I had the wrong piece on my stand when we started, giving me 8 measures of cut time to find it, which I did, but it unnerved me a bit. (Is that a run-on sentence? Oops) THAT won’t happen again!


The Rite of Spring

October 26, 2008

We performed The Rite of Spring today. It was a lot of fun! It was not the best we have done but still very good. I arrived at 9:30, warmed up, and we went on stage to practice around 11:00. Symphony Hall was a lot smaller than I remembered it. I don’t know if it was because of the point of view (on stage instead of in audience), or that I’m several years older than when I first saw it. Probably both. The only part in the piece that was still bothering me after all the practices we have had was the soli. It was at the limit of my high range and wore me out quickly. I could make it almost to the end without having to take it down the octave. Practice went well, and afterwards I went out to Symphony Sushi with some friends. I goth the Seafood Ramen Noodle Soup and promptly discovered that it is extremely hard to eat Ramen noodles with chopsticks. You know how when a bullfighter whips a whip and the end goes extremely fast? Well that what happened every time I slurped up my ramen. Once it even hit me in the eye! Ouch. Later I got dressed and fought with an extremely irritating button that refused to go through its respective hole. Then I waited, and waited, and waited. After a couple of hours we were on! The orchestra entered the stage amid a flurry of applause from the audience, we tuned, the conductor came out, and we began. Everything went very well. I got through the soli safely, and only missed one note. We almost fell apart at the end. It felt like we were riding in a car that was just about to fall apart but was staying together due to a continuous application of Elmer’s School Glue™, but we made it through! Woo!

For those of you who have not heard of The Rite of Spring, here it it. (this is not BYSO)

BYSO Camp!

September 1, 2008

The first thing I heard about BYSO camp was that it was like boot camp, and I can honestly say that it was nothing of the sort. It was very relaxed, with plenty of free time. The only time I felt stressed was when I rehearsed with Fed, BYS’ conductor, and it was only because of his reputation. I have yet to see or hear any evidence to back this up, although I am kind of looking forward to when the time comes. Hopefully it won’t be me.

I was surprised to find that I was the only tuba player at the camp! I know at least five others tried out, but no one was there. Luckily the low brass instructor was a tuba player! Give it up for Joby Wilson! *applause* He really helped me learn the timing on the last section of The Rite of Spring, and was in general a really great guy. For the second half we had Will Lombardelli. He spent pretty much the whole time on articulation and volume. Our sectionals were based around getting the trombone player to play louder, which she absolutely refused to do. I can safely say that my articulation improved a lot. I went from *boop* to *BAM* and hopefully will later work my way up to *BOOM! crash tinkle* or something of the sort. Did I mention Will is awesome at beat boxing? He sang the opening theme to The Rite of Spring and beat boxed to it. I really wish I recorded it.

I woke up early each day to warm up before breakfast. All of their practice rooms were tiny and made my tuba sound crappy. The only place I could find that gave me a good sound was outside, so I found a spot on a little porch on the back of “The Booth” that sounded nice. I tried not to practice in Alumni Hall too much because it made me sound too good, which would have made my tone suffer. While I was taking breaks in between sections of my Daily Routine I could watch the caterpillars try to climb up the side of the building. It was surprisingly entertaining. Which reminds me. 

Time for an Awkward Moment!

So I was walking down a path through the woods to my cabin and I see this caterpillar dangling from a thread in midair. It looked like it was floating! I looked closer to find out what exactly it was doing and it fell onto the path and just laid still. I poked it to see if it was still alive and it started to wiggle a little bit. So I tried to get it onto my finger so I could move it out of harms way. Then I heard the golf cart. It was coming down the path! I took a leaf from a nearby branch to see if I could lift the caterpillar up with that. But I couldn’t, he kept rolling off! I tried until the golf cart came around the bend and stood up quickly so I wouldn’t have to explain I was trying to save a caterpillar. “Hey John, how are you?” said the person driving the cart. “Good” I said, right when the golf cart rode over the caterpillar. It was less of a social awkward moment and more of an awkward moment with Nature.

To sum it all up BYSO Camp was great! I improved vastly and loved every second of it! (Except that one moment explained above)

✌ J.B.

BYSO Tuba Smackdown! Part Ein

June 17, 2008

I got a call from BYSO today. They called while I was at my lesson and so they left their number. When my dad told me to call them back I thought “ohmygodohmygod, I might get in!” So I called, with my hopes high, and discovered that I did not get in . . . yet. It seems that another tuba player auditioned late, and the auditioners were having trouble deciding who to pick, me or him/her. So now I have to play for the conductor and the three auditioners. That’s four people at the same time, all judging every note!

To make matters worse the audition is on friday or saturday! So it’s right in the middle of my final exams! I’ll be working my butt off during the next couple of days, considering that they’ll actually ask me some minor scales this time, and I have to make sure I still know the pieces and excerpts.