Apparently, there's this thing where you can sign up to be part of an SF Symphony workshop! You go and rehearse, and then have sectionals that are lead by an SF Symphony member, and then you rehearse as a group and play.
I got an email about it, since I'm signed up for the newsletter, and thought...yeah, sure! Why not! That sounds fun!
There was a Thursday night rehearsal, and I thought do I really need to go? It's not mandatory...I'm kind of tired. The music isn't that hard. In the end, I figured...why not?
It was mostly professionals who had picked up cello later in life, or maybe had come back to it. I quickly realized that it probably wasn't fair to label myself as an "amateur", so I tried to discreetly warm up. I really didn't want to be show-off-y, or make anybody self conscious, so I did my normal scales and a little Bach.
Tonight was the rehearsal. I really wanted to sit 3rd chair - one of our pieces was the Elgar String Serenade, and there's a cello divisi part. I wanted to play the top because that's the fun part (and the melody). I didn't want to be the jerk who was like, "I am going to sit first chair! Because I'm SO AWESOME YOU GUYS!" But I also wanted to sit close enough so I could hear all the parts. Unfortunately, 3rd chair was taken when I got there, so I sat in the second row next to the second stand. I don't even know what chair that was.
People filtered in. A fun woman announced, "I will be brave!" and sat first chair. The guy sitting behind me covertly told me to save the seat next to me so that our coach, Sebastien (the sf symphony cellist), would sit there. I shrugged and put my purse on the chair, though at that point almost everybody had come in and....nobody wanted to sit with me :D
So that's how I ended up sitting next to an SF Symphony cellist.
PLAYING IN DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL
There was room! Yay! I was worried I'd hit Sebastien (that would be unfortunate), but there was plenty of room. I could kind of hear people, but also not. It's one of those stages where you can really hear yourself. I heard me. I heard Sebastien. I heard the viola player in front of me. That was about it.
2nd coolest moment?
The conductor had the inside cellos and basses play the divisi part of the Elgar. He then had the outside cellists and 1st violins play. I really felt like I was playing by myself, but assumed it was the stage. When I finished, Sebastien looked at me and nodded with approval. I felt like a badass :)
(A cute note: when leaving, a 2nd violinist came up to me and said "You're so good!" Surprised, I said, "Wait...you could hear me??!!" She said, "Yeah! When he had the cellos play by themselves, you really stood out. You sounded so good!" Awwww. And also....eek! Well. I mean. I AM brave....)
The coolest moment, however, was when the conductor said it was time for the "performance" (there were like 15 people in the "audience"), and said that the concertmaster would walk out. That's when we all realized the concertmaster had a cane.
Not one to be deterred, this older man picked up his cane, and hobbled off stage. He then hobbled back on stage and bowed to the clapping. It was the most adorable thing I've ever seen. He looked so happy! It's like he had waited his whole life for that moment. It was pretty much the best moment I've ever experienced.
I had a lot of fun! It was really nice to play with a big group again.
Also, I learned that when you're a girl with a big instrument, the MUNI bus drivers will drive right to you. And also talk to you the whole drive. :)