Thursday, June 12, 2008

Orchestral aspirations

Fiona wants to play in orchestra. Our local orchestra is a motley collection of 2 dozen string players, aged 8 to 80+, levels from early Suzuki Book 3 to former professional. All three of Fiona's siblings play in the orchestra, as do her grandmother and most of her [older] friends, while her mother waves the baton. Fiona has been coming to rehearsals since she was born. She comes now completely by choice, even on nights when her dad can stay home with her. She likes the music, the bustle, the friends she sees and the chance to feel a part of it.

At the orchestra concert last month several sub-ensembles from the orchestra played, including a couple of string quartets and the Suzuki orchestra members. Since the Suzuki students had chosen to play a four-part arrangement of a piece that Fiona is very comfortable with, and she had played it in that arrangement at other venues, we decided it would be nice to allow her to play with the orchestra kids, as a way of thanking her for her cheerful presence throughout all our orchestra rehearsals.

It turned out she had the necessary components of "orchestral dress" in her closet ... the black pants, black shoes and white button-down shirt we all use. Perfect! She was happy to be invited, and felt like she was getting a special chance at the big time.

Here's what she looked like performing with the group. Dimensionally challenged, you might say. She certainly stuck out as the little one, but took it so seriously and played so beautifully that she fit right in otherwise.

I have as much as promised her that she can play a couple of the simpler pieces in the orchestra next winter. She's reading almost as well as the two kids behind her in this photo, and is more advanced than at least one of them. It'll be time. We'll have to build her a footstool so that her legs aren't dangling.

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