i was stoked to be invited to a rehearsal for the oregon symphony this week… i’m a bit of a junkie for the special features of dvd’s, and this was like getting to experience some behind-the-scenes special features for the orchestra. for the first time, i got to see all the musicians on the schnitzer stage sans tuxedos and dresses; jeans and short sleeves prevailed as these folks were ready to work. the façade of invincible-superhuman-band-from-another-world continued to erode, as these mere mortals stowed purses underneath chairs, marked/erased furiously in their musical scores, shot knowing glances to one another, sat cross-legged, and giggled throughout the morning. dressed in khakis and a green tee, maestro kalmar ran a tight ship, tenderly sang the vocal parts over the orchestral accompaniment, and spouted the best line i’ve heard all week: “can we all please just react to my left hand?!” it must be cool to have a job where you can say that with absolute authority. while the quirkiness of all these special features was definitely a plus, for me the real treat of the rehearsal was getting to be one of only 11 people in the audience, hearing this beautiful band play live in moments of total stillness. it recalled for me another insanely privileged moment years ago in rome, when i somehow found myself the only person in the sistine chapel, left completely alone to just be mindful of creation.
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