School Orchestra

  • Thread starter Cyrus
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

So, I decided to go see the school Orchestra give one of their free performances today. Boy am I glad I didnt have to pay to watch!

First, I noticed during the performance one girl on the far left of the stage was playing the violin and kept putting her feet up as she was sitting on the chair (She was short). Dont they tell these kids in violin 101 to sit straight, put your feet on the floor, and sit on the front edge of the chair? It was really distracting.

Also, the guy playing the bass accidentally tapped his bow on his music stand, making a nice loud 'clack' in the middle of the song.

Then there was the fact that every person in the orchestra was wearing whatever they happened to own. There was a girl in red, blue, yellow, pink, purple. A guy in blue, a white shirt with a tie, a guy in a red shirt.....come on people. This is an orchestra, you wear a black tux with a white shirt and black botie. It looked very amateurish.

Then comes two guys talking about what they are going to play. One guys talking with his hands in his pockets and sounds uncomfortable. His joke about the other guy being tall isnt funny, and he talks somewhat rushed. The taller guy standing next to him is no better.

Then they play the music. No feeling in it. Way too quiet. I've heard some of these songs they played at the kennedy center by the National Symphany Orchestra. They really blew it big time tonight. At certain points, it sounded like their violins werent even tuned right! I was literally cringing sitting there listening to it!

Then during the intermission the orchestra members came (voilins in hand) to the seats and started talking to people they knew. Uh....excuse me. No, you dont do that.


I might write a letter to the performing arts center. I dont expect them to be Kennedy Center quality, but they sure can perform with a lot more class. It was really quite bad if you've ever seen a professional orchestra.


here is the playlist:

Webern: Ricercare No. 2from Musikalisches Opfer

Shubert: Symphony No. 3 in D Major

Manual De Falla: El sombrero de tres picos suite No. 1

Joaquin Rodridgo: Concierto De Aranjuez.

Johann Strauss II: Kaiser-Walzer.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Wow sorry you had to hear that, a bad Orchestra performance can make my teeth hurt!
 
  • #3
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They werent horrible, but it was all these small little disracting things that added up to an overall poor performance.

An good orchestra will play a song...really...really...softly...andthenreallyfastlygo DAN DAN DAN DANN ...and then go really softly almost instantly. Its like a roller coaster ride.

These guys were just, note, note, note, note, note, note, note, note, zzzzzzzzzzZZzzzzz...


http://youtube.com/watch?v=E2YoxnmF_8Q

Ahhh much better on my ears.
 
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  • #4
Integral
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Cyrus, the day I see you say something positive about something other then yourself, I will start to take you seriously. Meanwhile, :rofl: at Cyrus the music critic.
 
  • #5
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Cyrus, the day I see you say something positive about something other then yourself, I will start to take you seriously. Meanwhile, :rofl: at Cyrus the music critic.
I did say something positive, about the national symphony orchestra. I dont tolerate crap though. They did an overall crap job. And many of these things were basic problems that never shoulda even happened. Its an orchestra, cant they afford a standard suit for students. I've seen the best in the world play, so I know what im talking about.
 
  • #6
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I remember orchestra class...And getting in a fight with this fat kid in front of me when he turned around and pulled his bow across the strings of my cello (ultimate disrespect)
 
  • #7
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I remember orchestra class...And getting in a fight with this fat kid in front of me when he turned around and pulled his bow across the strings of my cello (ultimate disrespect)
Ahaha, thats funny.
 
  • #8
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I wish I'd stayed with it, cause I really like Apocalyptica. They play metal (started out doing Metallica covers) on cellos, and they are all classically trained.
 
  • #9
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  • #10
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Dial-up...dammit, I need highspeed!
 
  • #11
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Dial-up...dammit, I need highspeed!
Are you in pakistan?
 
  • #12
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No, just Blanco, New Mexico. But the 5300'+ elevation and lack of general vegetation might indicate that I am infact in Pakistan, and that I am living a lie.
 
  • #13
Moonbear
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You get what you pay for. :biggrin:

It's a shame they haven't at least learned some things about showmanship, but when it's a free concert, I don't expect great quality unless there's a big sponsor funding it making it possible to be free for the rest of us.

Though, I've heard high school orchestras better than what you described.
 
  • #14
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The building their in is brand new. It looks like a professional concert hall.
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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IIts an orchestra, cant they afford a standard suit for students.
I've been in several choirs, and we often performed with the orchestras accompanying us. In high school, we had two concerts a year. In the winter, it was all very formal, girls had to wear black and white dresses or skirts and blouses and boys had to wear suits with white shirts and ties (I can't remember if they had to wear jackets), but the spring concerts were more informal, where we were just told to wear dresses but could choose any color and the boys could wear more casual slacks (no jeans though) and any color shirt. The music selection varied consistent with this theme too. The winter concert was a lot of classical chorale pieces (like Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah) while the spring concert would be more popular music. So, it depends on what they were going for with the theme.

Still, you'd think people playing in a college orchestra would really be into their instruments and performance and would show some feeling in their music. It makes me think it is the conductor who is the problem. I've had bad choir directors, and it doesn't matter how talented the performers are if the director is bad...we'd always rehearse things piecemeal, she'd change soloists a day before a concert, and it was just hard to show any feeling for the music when you were just irritated at the director that a song had never once been rehearsed completely through with the full choir. For one concert, we only pulled it together because we stayed after the director left and rehearsed together without her.
 
  • #16
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http://www.tpcworld.com/images/portfolio/29.jpg [Broken]

They played in this concert hall (Not the biggest one) in the new performing arts building on campus.

The best performance I saw was Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Vienna Philharmonic at the Kennedy Center (They played From the New World, by Dvorak). He had to walk out three times with a standing ovation. They even played a bonus song for use because he got such an ovation.


University-Maryland.jpg


This is the main stage. Never been to it before though. This was actually my first time at the place. Its a nice building.
 
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  • #17
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And when you do write that letter, don't tell them that they didn't perform the songs well. :tongue2: :biggrin:

He had to walk out three times with a standing ovation. They even played a bonus song for use because he got such an ovation.
From what I've seen in videos, that appears to be a formality these days.
 
  • #18
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Then there was the fact that every person in the orchestra was wearing whatever they happened to own. There was a girl in red, blue, yellow, pink, purple. A guy in blue, a white shirt with a tie, a guy in a red shirt.....come on people. This is an orchestra, you wear a black tux with a white shirt and black botie. It looked very amateurish.
Check out this dude!

And for a better-known violinist wearing a tux
(Incidentally, that's from the Kennedy Center.)
 
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  • #19
turbo
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My advice is not to complain about free music performances. If you don't like the performance, leave. I used to attend free recitals in the evenings at college, and in general, I enjoyed them. If I didn't, I would leave quietly and discretely.

I once had a fellow come up to me at a local tavern where I was hosting a weekly open-mic blues jam, complaining that he was bored hearing so many songs that we had played at previous sessions. I patiently explained that we were not a formal group, and that the line-up changed weekly (sometimes with pros sitting in, sometimes with kids brought by their parents so they could sit in and train with experienced musicians). I had a hard time getting him to understand that though he saw me and the bass player every week, guitarists, vocalists, keyboardists and drummers might not know all the breaks, key-changes, etc, so we have to stick to something popular or familiar unless we had guest instrumentalists who were very good at learning and/or improvisation. To top it off, there was no cover charge and there was always a special on drafts during the jams.

And it wasn't that the quality of the performances were bad. The owner of a local hotel/bar dropped in and when he heard us he asked if I could put together a band to fill a Saturday-night cancellation, so I got one of my oldest friends (a pro guitarist), his drummer, my bass player, another guitarist who was good at backing vocals, and my sister, who fronts a bluesy band on vocals and percussion. Jim had the most profitable night of the year to date, and we kept the dance floor full. When he paid us, he urged us to form a band permanently and said that he would stop booking any other bands, so that in a few months, we would have steady Friday/Saturday gigs. We didn't do that because almost every one of us had commitments to other bands and didn't want to leave them hanging. By the way, the guy who had complained at the blues jam showed up with his GF and a bunch of other people from my home town, paid $5 a head to get in, plus full-retail beer and drink prices, and they stayed and danced until closing time. Go figure.
 
  • #20
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My advice is not to complain about free music performances. If you don't like the performance, leave. I used to attend free recitals in the evenings at college, and in general, I enjoyed them. If I didn't, I would leave quietly and discretely.

I once had a fellow come up to me at a local tavern where I was hosting a weekly open-mic blues jam, complaining that he was bored hearing so many songs that we had played at previous sessions. I patiently explained that we were not a formal group, and that the line-up changed weekly (sometimes with pros sitting in, sometimes with kids brought by their parents so they could sit in and train with experienced musicians). I had a hard time getting him to understand that though he saw me and the bass player every week, guitarists, vocalists, keyboardists and drummers might not know all the breaks, key-changes, etc, so we have to stick to something popular or familiar unless we had guest instrumentalists who were very good at learning and/or improvisation. To top it off, there was no cover charge and there was always a special on drafts during the jams.

And it wasn't that the quality of the performances were bad. The owner of a local hotel/bar dropped in and when he heard us he asked if I could put together a band to fill a Saturday-night cancellation, so I got one of my oldest friends (a pro guitarist), his drummer, my bass player, another guitarist who was good at backing vocals, and my sister, who fronts a bluesy band on vocals and percussion. Jim had the most profitable night of the year to date, and we kept the dance floor full. When he paid us, he urged us to form a band permanently and said that he would stop booking any other bands, so that in a few months, we would have steady Friday/Saturday gigs. We didn't do that because almost every one of us had commitments to other bands and didn't want to leave them hanging. By the way, the guy who had complained at the blues jam showed up with his GF and a bunch of other people from my home town, paid $5 a head to get in, plus full-retail beer and drink prices, and they stayed and danced until closing time. Go figure.
They represent my school. I have every right to complain. This isnt a no-name band in some random bar. They should represent the best musical tallent at the university. And actually, my tution already pays for the performance.
 
  • #21
Moonbear
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They represent my school. I have every right to complain. This isnt a no-name band in some random bar. They should represent the best musical tallent at the university. And actually, my tution already pays for the performance.
Is it the best? How do they select performers? Are these students in the performing arts program who are supposed to be good and had to audition for the orchestra, or is it free because it's just a loosely organized group of students who like playing instruments who have joined up with an orchestra that is open to anyone with an interest, not necessarily only those who are the top players?
 
  • #22
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I went to one of these school concerts too. You can't imagine that these kids had ever come to rehearsal. They played as if they had never met each other before. There was a palpable antagonism between the conductor and the string section resulting in timing issues. The woodwinds were playing some other piece whose key was quite different from that of the mainstream. And there among the brasses was my daughter. Her performance skills held this herd of cats together. When the cacaphony was over, I was on my feet giving them a standing ovation along with all the other parents there.
 
  • #23
turbo
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I was in regional and all-state performances all through HS, though I usually had to choose which to audition for, since I played trumpet, baritone and French horn, AND sang in choral groups. Generally, we kids met for several days of rehearsals (staying in the homes of host families) and topped that off with two days of performances that were recorded. My favorite was All-State chorus in my senior year. By that time I had a solid baritone voice, and had developed some sight-reading capabilities. Our director was a piece of work. He got a really good selection of baritones that year, and he used us to the max. Whenever the sopranos screwed up their parts (frequently, as it turned out), he would shush them and instruct us baritones to sing the part correctly, which we would do (though not in the proper register). He first tried the traditional method of having the pianist play the soprano's part, so they could hear the passage as it was meant to be sung, but they never seemed to get it, so he resorted to using us baritones. It was pretty funny.
 
  • #24
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I went to one of these school concerts too. You can't imagine that these kids had ever come to rehearsal. They played as if they had never met each other before. There was a palpable antagonism between the conductor and the string section resulting in timing issues. The woodwinds were playing some other piece whose key was quite different from that of the mainstream. And there among the brasses was my daughter. Her performance skills held this herd of cats together. When the cacaphony was over, I was on my feet giving them a standing ovation along with all the other parents there.
I didnt clap for the songs that I thought they stunk at. I only clapped for their last song. I just sat there and stared at them. Im not going to clap for anyone just by default.
 
  • #25
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I didnt clap for the songs that I thought they stunk at. I only clapped for their last song. I just sat there and stared at them. Im not going to clap for anyone just by default.
They played Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. He couldn't think of an ending for the piece, and I couldn't think of anything else.
 
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