Rock Springs 2012

October 29, 2012

This past weekend was the annual Gold Orchestra retreat to Rock Springs 4H Camp outside of Junction City Kansas. This year was the first year the Silver Orchestra also participated in the Friday evening through Sunday noon event. In total there were about 80 players and a half dozen or so chaperons.

Friday evening, after dropping luggage off at our cabins, we had dinner and then an evening rehearsal. The Gold Orchestra (GO) is returning to Carnegie Hall in New York City in the spring of 2014 and, since the composition of the group has changed since their last audition, one of our goals for the weekend was to record movements from several of our pieces to send to New York. Both Friday evening and Saturday morning we worked long and hard on all of our pieces, but especially on the movements slated for recording.

I volunteered to run the video equipment Saturday afternoon. As the player with the least experience, I worry about doing something to embarrass the orchestra. My fear of this reached a head just before lunch on Saturday, and I sought out our conductor (and my cello teacher) David to talk to him about it. He emphatically assured me that I am not embarrassing the orchestra or him with my level of playing. He said that not one student or parent has had anything negative to say about my participating in this youth orchestra. My frustration and anguish at not being able to keep up on some pieces was greatly relieved by his words.

The videos we made were spectacular. Over the Rainbow in particular was stunning. I had goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes as they played. The Vivaldi was powerful and all three soloists, the first chair violin, first chair second violin, and first chair cello, did an outstanding job. Another three weeks of practice and rehearsals before the concert will only make us sound better.

Sunday morning we had a final rehearsal and then gave a mini concert for parents and friends. Both orchestras, the Silver and Gold, sounded very good.

Our free time included exploring the frosty camp grounds and a camp fire complete with scary stories. It was a very good weekend. I am looking forward to returning next year. And I am looking forward to having another year's experience to bolster my technique and playing.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.