Pulled pork and Beethoven
In January 2015, 45 members of the Scotch College Symphony Orchestra and four members of the Music School staff embarked on a three-week journey to America, performing a total of seven concerts.
Landing in Los Angeles after a 17-hour flight, we were all tired, but filled with excitement at the prospect of seeing such sights as Hollywood Boulevard, Santa Monica Pier and the Hollywood sign.
The orchestra ate its way through LA, New York, Nashville, Memphis and Dallas, enraptured by incredibly large serving sizes, extreme variety, and the general unhealthiness of the great American food. Stopping by all the obligatory tourist spots, we were awed by the Statue of Liberty, entrenched in the rich history found within the Smithsonian, and delighted in wandering through Times Square and Central Park.
Of course, the trip wasn’t about the food, or the sightseeing, although both were certainly fabulous; it was about the music. Surprisingly, it was in Disneyland where we received possibly the most enlightening musical experience on tour, and indeed maybe our entire lives. I’m sure those of us who have watched Disney movies can say that it is the soundtracks that really bring them to life, and the orchestra had the amazing opportunity to play, and record, those very Disney soundtracks that we fell in love with during a three-hour workshop.
We brought with us a huge selection of repertoire, delighting audiences with the jaunty tunes of Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite, the grand textures of Beethoven’s Egmont overture and the intricate layering of musical lines in Schubert’s 4th Symphony. Soloist Dean Lee (‘14) showcased his virtuosic skill on the violin in Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and Michael Mao (‘14) captivated listeners with his mature interpretation of the romantic themes of Schumann’s Piano Concerto.
Each concert was unique and memorable in its own way, but our joint concert with the New Jersey Youth Symphony was without a doubt the most notable. Apart from performing our own prepared pieces, we joined the youth orchestra in their performance of the second and fourth movements of Mahler’s epic 1st Symphony, Titan.
A huge thankyou must go to the staff, to Mr Ferguson for arranging and leading the tour, to Kathy Alsop for so much administrative work, and to the boys of the orchestra for making this such a fantastic trip.
ABOVE: JONATHAN CARNEY, LEADER OF THE BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, WORKING WITH DEAN LEE (’14) AND THE SCOTCH COLLEGE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
LEFT: ISAAC ZHAO WITH THOMAS PAULSEN (’13), JOHN FITZGERALD AND JASON HU, RIGHT: DAVID ATHAN (’14), PRINCIPAL CLARINET, INDULGING IN WISHFUL THINKING!
TIM YU (12MN) – CAPTAIN OF MUSIC; LEADER OF THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA