I thought that the orchestra couldn't get any better than Saturday.
I was wrong.
Sonday morning we headed out to Washington, IA, for lunch at a great Italian place. I love me some great Italian food, so that was nice. Then, we hurried over to Ottumwa, IA, for the second show. The pre-concert talk was not full, but we still had a great talk. The concert was amazing, despite a smaller hall and a smaller audience. The orchestra and Will really played well. Also, before the concert, I was handed some CDs of the Burlington show! That was pretty neat. (We also got a review in Sunday's Burlington Hawk Eye, which was really nice! Saturday's performance was "a wowzer!"
Immediately after Ottumwa, we raced back to Mount Pleasant for Concert Number 3, preceded by a dinner with the orchestra. It was really nice to talk to the musicians and get first-person feedback on the music. I always learn a lot from working directly with the performers of my music.
Concert Number 3 was by far the best, though. The entire dynamic was different, and the audience and orchestra alike were tuned in to the utmost degree. Afterwards, Will, Bob, and I had to come back out several times to bow, and the receiving line after the show lasted about 45 minutes! We then went back to the hotel, and Bob hung around as we rehashed the show and talked about life and how much fun the residency was.
Then, early Monday morning, everyone began the journey home. I'm typing this post from Charlotte International Airport, where I have a layover. I stayed over at Will's place in Chicago last night, after driving up there yesterday, and eating some awesome pizza.
All told, this residency has been absolutely life-changing. I am so blessed to be given such opportunities, and I look forward eagerly to the next such opportunity! Big things are brewing right now, actually, which is incredible! But now I musc get back to school...
Woke up late this morning, and got ready, hoping to head to the Old Threshers museum before the dress rehearsal. Alas, Old Threshers was closed. We got a few pictures, however. Instead, we went to a restaurant downtown, and ate lunch. Then, Will and I headed out to Burlington to the dress rehearsal there. The orchestra ran through the concerto once and touched spots, with Will and I talking a bit in between, and then we all ate a nice dinner that the orchestra catered, and got dressed. Then, Bob McConnell, Will, and I headed out to do the pre-concert lecture. It was fun...basically the same information Will and I have gone over in our interviews. Then I went out to sit in the hall.
The concert was phenomenal. The orchestra's effort was amazing, and all of the pieces on the program went well. But everyone seemed just a little more tuned-in for the concerto. The audience was silent through the whole thing, and the orchestra was fully engaged. Afterwards, the audience gave Will and the orchestra a standing ovation, I went on stage to join them, and we all took a few bows.
Then, as if we weren't tired enough, we headed over to a (unique) local art gallery for refreshments. Took more pictures, talked to moe people. Will and I finally made it home at about 11:30. One concert down, two to go!
Woke up insanely early because of the time change and my usual schedule, so I was able to get some work done before heading out. The first event of the day was an interview with KILJ Radio at 8:00 am. Then, I tagged along to Will's last school demonstration, which was fun. After that, the orchestra board member chauffeuring us around decided to give us a little local flavor, and took us to a small diner that had "the best pork tenderloin in Iowa". It was definitely good. On the way back to our hotel, we drove through a bit of Mt. Pleasant.
This is a gorgeous town! It is not new, but it is well-kept. The houses are all old midwestern designs with wooden siding, but they aren't falling apart and are newly painted. The storefronts are spectacular, most of them filled with some restaurant or other small business. The best part about Mt. Pleasant, though, is the Old Threshers' museun. The people of Mt. Pleasant host a fair dedicated to bringing back the turn-of-the-century Midwest way of life, complete with fully renovated and operational steam tractors and locomotives, a running narrow-gauge railroad, horse-drawn farm equipment, a working steam carousel with a real calliope, and more. We are headed back tomorrow to explore this in detail...which is going to be awesome.
Will and I took some time in the afternoon to go back over his part to At Sixty Miles an Hour and make some last-minute edits, then we schlepped off to the dress rehearsal. After a quick meeting with Bob McConnell, the director of SEISO, and a tasty Thai dinner, we got to Chapel Auditorium in Iowa Wesleyan, and set up. Rehearsal was amazing. The concert is going to be fantastic. So excited for tomorrow, with the final dress, and then the FIRST CONCERT at 7:30 pm CDT! This trip is unreal.
What an exciting day this has been! FLL-ORD-DSM, then a bus ride down to Iowa City, hten a car ride to Mount Pleasant, IA. Looking forward to getting around tomorrow, doing a radio interview about At Sixty Miles an Hour, and attending the dress rehearsal. For now, Shostakovitch and some much-needed rest...
Spring break. A chance to rest and watch movies? Yeah, right.
Over break, I accompanied the Westwood Christian School choirs and instrumentalists at a competition, involving an overnight trip chaperoning highschoolers. So that was fun.
Then, Sunday, I conducted the world premiere of Peace with the Gold Coast Community Band. The premiere was amazing. It was also the first time I have conducted a large ensemble in concert. Pressure? Hm...maybe a little. There were over 800 in attendance, including many big names in band music. I was shaky even before I got onstage. (And I'm not one to get nervous over music. Ever.) But everything went extraordinarily well. The band stepped up and really communicated through the music, and I didn't mess up my conducting!
So now for a REALLY relaxing week...oh, wait. Nope. Now for a concet today of orchestrated works from UM singer/songwriters (I'm conducting my own arrangement), then the premiere of At Sixty Miles an Hour in Iowa. So much happening, and I just can't contain my excitement!
Not sure what the answer to that question is, but I am trying to find out! In the next few weeks, I will be conducting the premiere of an orchestration of a song by one of UM's singer/songwriters, performing with the Westwood Christian choirs and soloists at a fine arts competition in Jacksonville, conducting the world premiere of Peace with the Gold Coast Community Band, flying out to Iowa for the premiere of At Sixty Miles an Hour with Will Baker and the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, and perhaps, squeezing school into that schedule somewhere.
Bud wonderful. I am so grateful that I get to fill my life to the brim with things that I love most. I don't have to work a boring job behind a desk. I get to be creating beauty (ok, and occasionally ugliness...) on a daily basis, and then helping bring it to others. So no matter how busy my schedule gets, it's never depressing, only exciting. Hopefully I have this many opportunities in a month once I get out of college and actually need the money...