Sunday, November 29, 2009

Symphony


I counted 128 people in the choir, 60 members in the orchestra, 3 soloists, and 1 conductor.

Last Sunday I took my 8-year-old granddaughter to a symphony concert at the Stevens Center of the UNC School of the Arts. The main reason we were there was because my wife sang in the Symphony Chorale.

I know almost nothing about music. I enjoy singing with the church congregations during worship services. I love listening to music of all kinds and admire the makers of it. I have great respect for composers and their talent. When I hold an open hymn book in church, I look at the bottom of the page to see the author's name and observe his or her birth and death dates. I then marvel at the choice and arrangement of words. I sometimes wish I could choose a few dozens words, arrange them, apply musical notes, and cause people to be humbled as happens with "Amazing Grace" or "How Great Thou Art".

When I attend a concert, I monitor myself and observe who I spend most time watching on stage. After scanning everyone during set-up and watching their behavior, demeanor, dress, and movements, I then note who I spend most of the time watching. Usually, it's the drummer. I recall many years ago taking my son to the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill to see a concert by Eric Clapton. I couldn't take my eyes off the drummer there. I suppose it's because of the overpowering sounds from the drums and the wild-like hand and arm movements of the drummer.

At symphonies I love it when the voices and instruments are singing and playing at full force. Then, abruptly, everyone stops to cause complete silence for a period. I can think of nowhere else that a leader can get almost 200 people to act in unison with great precision.

Have a good week!


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