Sunday, April 20, 2008
The New York City trip and Lincoln Center performance certainly lived up to my expectations.
We arrived in New York City shortly after 1:00 PM on Tuesday, April 15. After quickly stopping at the Julliard Book Store with some friends, I proceeded to our 2:00 PM rehearsal in Avery Fisher Hall. Immediately, I was impressed with the grandness of the space – it was even larger than I remembered from the last Ithaca trip to Lincoln Center in 2005. Also, it was nice to have more playing room on stage (as compared to Ithaca’s Ford Hall) and I know the chorus was thankful to have chairs.
Rather than running large sections of the work, we mainly touched spots in rehearsal of the Verdi Requiem. However, from the small amount of playing we did, it was evident that the acoustics were incredible! Although it was hard to completely fill the hall with our sound, there was amazing reverb and resonance. After one especially loud cadence, Mr. Doebler paused to let us hear the wonderful ring. Also, it was much easier to hear myself clearly on this stage, a phenomenon I had only experienced once before – at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Meyer’s rehearsal plan involved us playing more to help us become better acclimated to the acoustics of the hall. As a result of this, I felt we developed a comfort with the performance space when rehearsing the Brahms Tragic Overture.
After a quick dinner, it was show time! Walking onstage at Avery Fisher Hall to a full audience is a moment I will cherish forever. Dr. Meyer was at his best in the Brahms Tragic Overture, conducing from memory. This is the second time I have played for a conductor who did not have the score in front of him and I can honestly say that nothing does more to inspire an orchestra. Consequently, I thought our performance of the Brahms was cohesive, spirited, and moving. It was a joy to perform.
The Verdi Requiem was equally inspired. From my seat next to the soloists, it was astounding to hear their power as they projected over the orchestra and choir. They were able to fill the hall with incredible ease. Mr. Doebler was as emotionally connected to the work as ever and led the orchestra with such poise and reverence. I think many performers and audience members were in tears by the end.
By far the best aspect of the trip for me was meeting my family and friends in the lobby after the concert. Being from a suburb of Philadelphia, this was one of the few times my family has been able to attend an Ithaca orchestra concert. There were three generations represented in my “fan club.” In addition to extended family and neighbors, I was touched to see two of our close family friends waiting to greet me after the concert. As I looked around the lobby, I noticed that my situation was not unique. The entire area was bustling with performers, their families, friends, supporters, and alumni. Truly, this demonstrates the value of performing a combined choral and orchestral work at this type of venue.
As a senior, I realize that this was my last time performing at Lincoln Center with Ithaca College, but I look forward to attending more of these performances as an audience member in the future.