I had been playing piano for four years, but I had never played with other people. What would it be like to play with other instruments? This was my chance to find out. My mom had signed me up for the 2010 USD Chamber Music Festival. I did not know what to expect.
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It is the first day. I walk into the room. I am very nervous. I meet the people I am going to play with––two violins and a cello. I sit down on the bench. I get my music out. We start playing. It is discouraging at first. We can’t find the steady beat. The coach tells the first violin to take charge. She has to give the cue to us for when to start and stop. This is very difficult, but we are working hard, and I am not as nervous now. In fact, I am having lots of fun. I am impressed with how we work together to make it sound so lively. The baroque music our ensemble was assigned to play is complicated, but we are making Gabrielli’s and Vivaldi’s compositions come to life.
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It is midweek at music camp. We are getting ready for our first performance. People are gathering at the student pavilion to hear the concert. The first violin gives us the cue, and we begin our first piece. I feel nervous, but at the same instant, excited. I am finally part of a band, and the music sounds good.
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The final day of the chamber music festival has arrived. It is the day of the big concert. All sixty participants will perform several pieces each. One piece I perform is written for eight hands on one piano. The four of us squeeze onto the bench. It is very uncomfortable, but the music is very pleasing to the crowd. Later in the concert, the youth orchestra gets ready to perform American Landscape by Soon Hee Newbold. I hated playing it at home. It was hard and boring. It made my hands hurt. As the orchestra plays, the loud, thundering beat of the music fills the room with all the sounds of the American landscape. My hands are still tired, but I feel good. We are having fun.
TURNING MUSIC INTO LIFE a teenager’s memories of the 2011 Summer Festival.