1st Concert of the Season (New Hall)

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by Derek Reaban, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Ed,

    Knowing that you’ve recently moved into a new hall at CalArts and seeing MrClean’s avatar from his first outing in the new Disney Hall last season, I thought you would enjoy my story about my orchestra moving into the brand new Mesa Arts Center.

    It’s been a very long time since my last orchestra concert and for that matter playing with any organized ensemble in performance (March!). The orchestra that I play with had some serious financial problems at the end of last season and we lost our music director and executive director. The plan was to move into our “new home†beginning this season, and I was wondering if it would happen at all.

    I typically play 3rd trumpet and looking at the schedule, it didn’t look like I would be needed until the New Years Eve concert. I received a call last week, and the 2nd trumpet player had a conflict, so I was now venturing into new waters (who would be conducting us, what would the hall be like, etc.).

    Wow! I was absolutely amazed at the past week that I have had. Our guest conductor (Cal Stewart Kellogg) was one of the best that I have ever worked with. His background is in opera and he has worked with some of the best groups in the world (Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, NYC Opera, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and a host of others). This guy was amazing! He really held us to demanding standards, and the group responded very well. I think this is the best that I have ever heard the group!

    We were doing Beethoven 3 (Eroica) and Mendelssohn 4 (Italian). I love playing 2nd trumpet on these pieces. Following the interpretation of the conductor to the letter was extremely fun. I’ve had big issues with the principal trombone in the past regarding intonation (he sits right beside me), and I was so glad that based on the literature selected I didn’t have to endure a week of intonation torture. It’s nice to present a really good musical product without having to worry about one person muddying the waters.

    Saturday morning was the dress rehearsal in the new $94 million Mesa Art Center. Wow! This place is beautiful. The main hall has 1600 seats and has two balconies. I wish I would have taken pictures to post here, but you’ll read why I didn’t. The acoustic was incredible, and I could really hear everyone on stage. The ring coming back from the hall was great. I would easily say that this is the best hall that I have ever performed in (clearly on par with Gammage). The orchestra was playing very well and our conductor didn’t let up at all, holding us to demanding standards.

    This would have been a perfect week if it weren’t for a bad case of the stomach flu that’s been going around. My 5-year-old had it on Wednesday night. My 3-year-old got it on Thursday. My Wife was sick on Friday. Yep, you guessed it. About 5:30 PM on Saturday (after passing on dinner) I started feeling bad. After many trips to the bathroom I threw on my tux at 6:30 PM and drove to the hall (with a bucket in the car).

    When I got to the hall, I quickly surveyed the bathroom situation. There was ONE toilet back stage (male / female)!!!! I went on stage with my horn, played a few notes and told the first trumpet player that this was going to be a very interesting evening. About 2 minutes later, I quickly exited the stage, and headed for the bathroom. There were 6 people standing in line!

    I made my way outside and found a bench by some bushes in a secluded area of the new facility. After I did my business, I came back in and found the 1st trumpet player in the hall. He was sweating (literally) and said he wasn’t feeling well. What a pair we were!

    At this point I was feeling much better, but not having had any dinner or anything to drink, I was feeling really weak. It’s amazing what your mind can accomplish when the odds are in favor of a less than stellar performance.

    Based on my thorough preparation, I could have played this concert on autopilot. Well, that’s just what happened! I didn’t have to think about anything. I just played with the strong sound ringing in my head. I had to sit on stage with my head down for most of the concert because I was literally drained of all my energy. But when the horn came up, there was my familiar resonant sound. The first trumpet player ended up playing very well too, and it was a good first outing in the new hall.

    I wish it had been under different circumstances, but it’s nice to finally be back into the orchestra season with a positive outlook for the year!
     
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
    8
    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Derek,

    I've played some of my best performances when feeling far off my best. There's nothing better for your concentration than knowing that you're bumping on empty.

    Fun playing in a brand new venue, isn't it? Even more fun when the architect remembers that musicians actually works there, requiring dressing room space, lockers that are the proper width (with doors that don't open into a wall!), and a private place for more than one at a time to respond to the call of nature. Imagine 110 musicians waiting patiently (yeah, right) for 1 toilet to be free -- the intermission could last longer than the show.

    Drinking fountains are nice too. . .

    And parking. . .

    A bar wouldn't hurt either (Eurocentric once again). . .

    EC
     
  3. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Ed,

    Thanks for the comments!

    I found finally found some pictures of the place. It looks pretty good inside and out!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]...........[​IMG]

    [​IMG]....................[​IMG]
     
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    I just got home from my New Years Eve job. It was fantastic!

    It was an all Gershwin concert this year with the Mesa Symphony Orchestra and guest artists Mike Crotty and Deater O'Neill as well as a Jazz Trio. Mike did all the arrangements for the orchestra and they were marvelous. He was the arranger for the Airmen of Note for many years and is a excellent trumpet / sax player. The Jazz trio includes Chuck Marohnic (piano), Dom Moio (Drums), and Dwight Killian (Bass). We've done concerts with them in the past, and they are simply outstanding!

    After the show I had to talk with the trio and tell them how much I enjoyed them. Chuck commented that they have done this same program with many orchestras across the country, and the performance tonight was one of the best that he’s heard from the orchestra! They’ve played with us at least 5 times since I’ve been with the group, so he knows how we play. He said, “this conductor that you have is a real treat!†I’ll say!!!

    Cal Stewart Kellogg was our guest conductor for this concert, and at the first rehearsal (Tuesday) it was announced that he has signed on as our new Music Director for the 2006-2007 season. I am just amazed at this announcement! He is the very finest conductor that I have ever worked with. His clarity (dictating what he wants) and knowledge of the literature is nothing short of amazing. We’ve done American in Paris many times for New Years’ Eve, but this year we rose to a level that I have not heard from our ensemble. When a true leader with a clear vision is leading an ensemble (and holds the musicians to a demanding standard), it’s amazing what can be achieved. I’m just blown away by this announcement.

    Here’s a snapshot of Cal’s bio:


    • Mr. Kellogg conducted 24 opera productions over 16 consecutive seasons for the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. He has also conducted performances at the Teatro d’Opera di Roma, Teatro San Carlo Opera of Napoli, Teatro Reggio di Parma, Teatro San Carlos Felice di Genova, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Montreal, Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Portland Opera and Seattle Opera.

    When I talked with Cal at the first rehearsal back in October he told me that after he got married later in life and had two little boys he decided that he needed to slow down and focus more on family. Well, his decision to slow down is such a gift to our community. I can easily see our ensemble grow in leaps and bound musically under his musical leadership! I will now be held to the same standards as the trumpet sections from Washington Opera, Santa Fe Opera, etc. Wow! I’m certainly looking forward to be held accountable for the best musical product that I am capable of!

    I just had to share this amazing turn of events!
     
  5. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    488
    4
    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Derek, congrats on the new digs and the new leadership! I'd say 2006 is going to be a great year for you.

    The next time you have the stomach flu and have to play, you might want to pick up some Gatorade. The stuff absorbs through the lining of the stomach and the formulation can supply enough energy to perk you up and keep you going.

    Bill
     
  6. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
    8
    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Derek,

    Let me know if you're playing anything during spring training. I love to slip over from LA occasionally to catch the Cubs at Ho-Ho-Kam and might be able to kill two birds with one baseball.

    Best,
    EC
     
  7. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Ed,

    I checked the Cactus League web site, and while it doesn’t have specific dates yet, Spring Training is usually the entire month of March. I checked my concerts around that time, and unfortunately the Mesa Symphony concert is on April 8th:

    Prometheus Overture by Beethoven
    Concerto #1 in D Major by Paganini
    Symphony #5 by Tchaikovsky

    The wind ensemble that I play with is giving a concert on March 27th, Monday evening at 7:30 PM if you happen to be here for a game. It looks like a good program:

    Candide...............................Bernstein
    Aspen Jubilee........................Nelson
    Japanese Folk Song Suite.......Kaneda
    Tatarian Dances.....................Lucas
    March from 1941...................Williams/Lavender
    Caribbean Hideway................Barnes
    Clarinet Candy......................Anderson
    Broadway Curtain Time..........Krance
    Stars & Stripes Forever..........Sousa


    I’m guessing that you would have a much better time coming over on March 8-9 for the Hickman, Vizzutti, Lindemann concert and master classes, and squeeze a game in before the concert on the 8th.

    I'm sure we'll have the chance to meet one of these days, and if it happens to be at one of my concerts that would be awesome!

    Happy New Year!
     
  8. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Bill,

    Yeah, it looks like a really exciting season! While the Gatorade sounds like a good idea, it turned out I still wasn't feeling well after the concert (it was a really long night). If I would have chugged a bottle of Gatorade seconds before show time, I'm sure I would have made a memorable impression with the conductor as I bolted for the wings during the Beethoven. "What the hey?"
     
  9. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Ed,

    The Mesa Symphony had a run-out concert to Apache Junction (about 25 miles from town) on Saturday night and we played the same Beethoven / Mendelssohn concert that we performed in October. It was with Cal again as the conductor and this time I was healthy. What a treat it was to get a second chance at this program. The orchestra played very well and I got to enjoy myself this time. In October I felt like I had been robbed of the complete experience. Saturday filled in that hole!

    Anyway, I just had to share that!

    Take care,
     
  10. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
    8
    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Derek,

    One of the pleasures of orchestral playing is getting repeated shots at repertoire, especially in your situation with your illness, etc.. The danger, naturally, comes from the number of repetitions. The Rotterdam toured Mahler #5 in the US and Asia once (Mike Sachs, if he's ghosting, will remember. He came to one in Houston). After 20 performances (not counting subscriptions and TV at home) I was glad to put it to rest.


    Still resting,
    EC
     

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