Friday 31st January, 2014

It feels like we have been rehearsing for weeks already. Probably because a lot of us have just finished performing at the most recent National Music Camp in Canberra earlier on this January. It was so recent that we have all had just over a week to wind down and then prepare to wind back up for the AYO February Season.

Arriving at Adelaide Airport in the sweltering heat, it was fantastic to see friends from in and out of state again, even though it has barely been a week since playing together. While Lucy briefed the full 94 piece orchestra in the dining hall at St Marks, there was a suppressed excitement among old and new faces gathered together from across the country, brought together by our passion for music. When asked if this was anyone's first time at an AYO season, about a third of the orchestras hands were raised. Having a mixture of old and new instrumentalists keep the old hands from getting complacent with their familiar colleagues, but also help inspire and nurture the new player's orchestral passion.

With a new program to prepare for after a dinner complete with dessert (unlike camp) we were off to our first tutti rehearsal in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra rehearsal venue. Arriving 45 minutes early like the rest of the orchestra in a very humid room, we all checked our instruments again to make sure no babies had been hurt by travel or weather. After warming up with a few tricky licks in the program and tuning, we were all thrilled to see James Judd standing at the podium. Some of us had worked with him on previous camps and couldn't wait to be back under his baton. We started with a run of Pictures at an Exhibiton followed by what we thought would be a run of The Moldau which was an unexpected sprint for most of us! The rollicking charged tempo pushed us all along until we collapsed into a perfect cadence signalling the conclusion of the work.

Even in the first rehearsal, Maestro James Judd was pushing us to extend ourselves into the music even though we have a week of rehearsal still to come. Working on a passage with the violins he explains that 'some of you are singing, some of you are just playing the violin'. After that, the two sections played totally differently, thinking about the musical line rather than the vertical strokes on the page. James has also been giving us life lessons to carry into our musical career like 'In life, the last notes are generally longer' and some beautifully touching statements about music that will change your perspective on music forever. My favourite so far is 'Only 1% of what we have to play is on the page, the rest is in our hearts and minds'. I can't wait to continue with our rehearsals and pick up many more words of wisdom from our fantastic conductor.

- Estelita Rae (Principal 2nd Violin)