24 February 2012
Three community engagement days of two concerts per day, rehearsal for Senior Symphony, a rehearsal for a MYSO issued woodwind quintet, seven dress rehearsals, two lessons, four MYSO concerts in a weekend, and a performance for my church's youth orchestra, all in one week. Added up, each minute of those concerts, rehearsals, lessons, as well as transportation to it, adds up to around 53 hours of music. Looking back at that one week, I understand why everyone thought I was crazy. To my surprise, being in five MYSO groups isn't normal, and 53 hours of music in a week, not counting practice time, is even less so. Naturally there were slight problems I had to deal with in order to survive such a week. The biggest problem of it all was not the stress I had to go through or the amount of schoolwork I now need to make up, but was returning to reality after one of the best weeks of my life.
It all began Monday. Between 4:00 PM-9:00 PM, I had been to four rehearsals and was grinning from ear to ear, completely and utterly slap-happy from the many musical jokes and games that occur in rehearsal. Tuesday arrived with Chamber Flute Ensemble Community Engagement Concerts and near flawless performances. Wednesday was hard to digest as I had to pull myself away from the musical world that is MYSO and sit in my school desk of reality. The entire day I found myself yearning to sit in the familiar black chairs and hold up my flute for another two hours. Once my rehearsal for Chamber Orchestra passed, I was in a car once more, this time on my way to my Woodwind Quintet rehearsal. Thursday was my Chamber Orchestra Engagement Concert, and with it came two more great performances. Once the concerts completed, I found myself chilling in MYAC for the third time that week, listening to more music and masterfully dodging my homework. A Sinfonia dress rehearsal (for which I had composed a piece) and flute lesson later and I started wishing it was possible to rent a room at MYAC to sleep in so I could save a little gas. Friday was my favorite day in the music filled, MYSO party week. Sinfonia had its outreach concert and despite the fact that I wasn't playing, I was more nervous than any of my other concerts. Sinfonia was premiering my piece, Proelio Morum, and I was hopeful that the audience would like hearing it as much as I liked writing it. My worries were quashed easily, and Sinfonia played it as beautifully as I could have ever wished. From those concerts, I went to a Chamber Flute Ensemble dress rehearsal at Shattuck Auditorium, and from that, after a brief moment of lying mentally dead on the floor and recharging my musical batteries, I sat in a dress rehearsal for Chamber Orchestra. Even though, it was the busiest of all my days and the most draining, I was disappointed to see it end and found it hard to leave the auditorium I was starting to see as home. That night I dreamt of rehearsal. When I woke up I was disappointed once more that my rehearsal dream wasn't true. Little homework was done Saturday. It wasn't particularly strange that I was so happy with all the music I was doing; MYSO rehearsals are the highlight of my week, but it bothered me that I had so much trouble adjusting to "real life" and school after only one week of music. Saturday ran smoothly with our first Chamber Orchestra concert. As Sunday came around, after another rehearsal dream, I felt excited, but also saddened as I knew all my hard work and fun was coming to an end. That morning, I had a brief stint as temporary conductor for my church’s youth orchestra, my first concert of the day. Once I arrived at Shattuck, the nerves started to settle in. I was about to participate in the culmination of my “MYSO Week.” The first concert went smoothly, Sinfonia exceeded all my expectations once again and the applause that came after my piece made it all so much better. Chamber Flute Ensemble played just as well and when Chamber Orchestra filled the stage, I didn’t think it could be much better. Naturally, I was wrong. Five perfect pieces and a standing ovation later, I found myself holding back tears of happiness as well as the creeping dread of it all coming to an end. Playing the Overture to “The Magic Flute” was the perfect Finale to a perfect week. That very piece was the beginning of my love for music. As a seven year old, taken with Fantasia, I listened to “The Magic Flute” for hours and drew pictures of what the music showed me in my head. It’s funny that now I do the opposite: I write music for the pictures I see.
This week may have been busy, but I realize it has helped me see that music is what I truly love in my life. There’s something about being in that hall, the smell of the wood floors and dusty carpets, sitting next to people, both musicians and conductors, who think the same as you, act the same as you, have the same desires as you, people who you have only known for a couple months but feel like a closer family then the people you’ve known your whole life that gives me chills. Being able to create a masterpiece, a creation of majesty and wonder by only looking at black blobs on a piece of lined paper causes my heart to soar, butterflies to fill my stomach and a grin to spread across my face, regardless of anything else I had experienced that day. I could be in tears, completely destroyed, but the moment I set foot into that building, my world is beautiful again. 53 hours of MYSO has helped me see that. Honestly, 53 hours later and I have no regrets, excepting maybe starting my homework so late. 53 hours later and I'm sad it's all over. I’ve discovered my passion, what really makes me happy. 53 hours later and I now know where I belong. 53 hours later I’ve found home.
Flutist Sabrina Raber is a junior at Whitefish Bay High School and is a member of three MYSO groups including MYSO’s Senior Symphony with which she will embark on a concert tour of Vienna and Prague this summer. In addition, she is a student composer as part of MYSO’s John Downey Creation Project, a collaboration with Present Music, and experienced the world premiere her composition Proelio Morumlast weekend.