Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blunt Force Trauma

There were a few new people at rehearsal today.  Well, I think only one of them was actually new, and the others had been to rehearsals when I was absent for one reason or another.  The new new person was a violinist, which everyone was happy about.  We also had a returning violist and a bassist (for the second time ever), which made our string section bigger than it had been in a long while.

As a member of the leadership team, I sat down next to the new violinist at the break and introduced myself.  I then went about my duties as dues wrangler, collecting money from people.  I took the precarious way to the oboes, walking between chairs with violins placed on them.  I got there successfully, but on my way back, disaster struck.  I can't even tell you how I managed to do it, but I walked into one of the violins, snapping the scroll right off and sending it flying to the floor.

I couldn't believe what I saw.  It was like looking at a severed hand.  Then I realized whose violin it was: the new guy's.  On his first day in a new orchestra, some doofus breaks his violin.  He stared agape for a while, and all I could do was stand there and apologize.  People in the vicinity were also staring, but no one said a word.  Rehearsal was starting again, and the conductor asked us to work it out amongst ourselves.  I invited him into the hallway to talk.

The talk went well, and once he got over the initial shock he was very understanding towards me.  I offered to help him pay for the repair (assuming it is reparable, cross your fingers) and to lend him my violin so he has something to practice on (thankfully, I broke an instrument for which I have a spare).  He said he was going to go back to transcribing bowing markings into his music, which meant I hadn't scared him away and he had every intention of continuing to play in the orchestra.  I still felt horrible, and was utterly unable to concentrate on the music for the rest of the rehearsal.

When I got home, I saw that another member of the orchestra had sent an email announcing that he was taking up a collection to offset the cost of repairing the violin, which warmed my heart.  It reminded me of a time in college when I'd made a miscalculation that cost my fraternity a few hundred dollars.  Even though it was my mistake, Brothers pooled their money together and covered the difference.  That's one of the reasons why QUO is so great.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Lesson #2)

I was rushed on the day of my first cello lesson.  My second was the opposite.  I practiced a little before leaving, and I arrived fifteen minutes early so I wandered around a bit and took pictures.

At my last lesson, we discovered that one of my strings was vibrating against the fingerboard and making a hideous buzzing sound.  That problem went away on its own, to my great relief.

I told my teacher, as I will tell you now, that I've decided to play cello in the orchestra this set.  It's just silly to be in an orchestra and not play.  As much as I loved being dues bitch last set, it was kind of depressing to watch everyone else play while I sat and did nothing but stare at my dues spreadsheet, occasionally doodling in the margins.  After a few trips up and down the C major scale, we spent the rest of the lesson working on next set's orchestra music: Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte and Offenbach's Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld.  We'll also be playing Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute and Tchaikovsky's Third Symphony, of which I am terrified.

By the time we'd gotten through Pavane, we were already over time, but she graciously offered more of her time so we could look at Orpheus.  She's really just the sweetest.

Our first orchestra rehearsal is tomorrow and I'm excited for it.  I hope to get in some practicing before it.

I'd like to buy a hook so I can hang my cello up on my wall.  Anyone know where I could buy such a thing?