Rehearsals Under the Big Tent

Jun 14, 2021 | News, Uncategorized

In May, WYSO rehearsals began under the big tent for Concert, Philharmonia, and Youth Orchestras.

Snuggled into the Edgewood College parking lot, with one long side wind-blocked by a row of pines, the tent looked as if it had always been there. Inside the 40′ x 100′ tent, woodwind, brass, string, percussion and harp musicians rehearsed together for the first time in over a year. Masked, socially-distanced, and eager to play, the young musicians brought out their instruments, warmed up, and began to follow the lead of their conductor. Soon the notes from the first 45-student chamber orchestra began wafting through the parking lot.

For this spring’s cycle, each full orchestra has been divided into two chamber orchestras. Christine Mata Eckel is leading all Concert Orchestra musicians, Michelle Kaebisch is guiding the Philharmonia Orchestra students, and Kyle Knox is directing the Youth Orchestra members. After a year of complete innovation, it feels great to return closer to the orchestral program that WYSO is known for.

The schedule this spring is fast and furious. The orchestras began work in sectionals and score study before moving outdoors under the tents last week. With a scant four weeks between the first outdoor rehearsal and the final recordings under the tent, orchestra members are committing to four hours of rehearsals each week.

What music can you expect to hear drifting from beneath the big tent? Concert Orchestra is rehearsing Tchaikovsky’s Russian Choral and Overture, arranged by Merle J. Isaac; Shenandoah, arranged by Jack Bullock; and Essay for Orchestra by Elliot Del Borgo. Philharmonia Orchestra is rehearsing the Egmont Overture by Ludwig Van Beethoven; Valse-Fantasie by Mikhail Glinka; and “Variations on a Shaker Melody from Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland.  And Youth Orchestra is rehearsing Façade (Suites 1 & 2) by Sir William Walton and Emperor Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.

According to Maestro Knox, “The Walton has a few musical jokes within, including references to the William Tell Overture. The Kaiser Waltz was meant to be played on (International) tour last summer. So this repertoire is first and foremost great music, but it also provides closure for some unrealized recent musical events over the last year.”
The concerts will be recorded under the big tent on June 12, 15, and 17 by professional audio and videographers, with online concerts for the public planned in July.

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