Recently the Daily Orchestra Program traveled to Boston for our final performance of the year! Along with twelve other young orchestras, we arrived early in the morning at Roxbury Community College to participate in the Third Annual El Sistema Showcase (featuring programs from the greater Boston area). Our students had been eagerly anticipating this event for months. We had spent many hours not only learning a new version of Ode To Joy and a newly composed piece “What We Will Be,” but also learning how to follow a conductor, learning how to count rests, and preparing to share the stage with fellow string players and winds, brass, and percussion.
Much like the kids I was excited, but I was also nervous about whether we had adequately prepared them to step into a situation in which even adults might sometimes struggle. A short one hour rehearsal followed by a performance with hundreds of other students under the baton of an unfamiliar conductor was an unprecedented experience for all of us! I’m happy to report that my worries were needless. The Daily Orchestra students embraced the entire experience whole-heartedly. They sang loudly when asked, played boldly (with the larger group and in their own performance), and gave their full attention to the task at hand. They even made some new friends and cheered pretty raucously during a cello/violin feud started by the MC.
After the event a beaming grandmother of one of our violinists expressed to me her amazement – “These children have never met before, and yet they can come together and in just a few hours be making beautiful music together!” I share her sentiment. It is amazing and wonderful how music can unify us not only with our own community but also with a much wider community, perhaps wider than we might even be aware until we come together in an orchestra.