Philharmonia Winter Concert

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My son’s orchestra, Philharmonia, gave a winter concert last night at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, alongside three other ensembles: Preludium, Sinfonia, and the Chamber Orchestra.

Boy and girl with rabbit ears

My kids goofing off after the concert

One of my friends has a daughter in the same orchestra and she films it. We are so grateful for her efforts. Here’s a link to the 2018 Philharmonia Winter Concert. My son is in the second violin section. Continue reading »

Once the camera stops panning around and settles on the conductor, you can see my son at the top left corner of the screen. His stand partner is one of the rehearsal assistants. She has blond hair and wears a black top.

Girl passes out concert programs

My daughter poses after passing out programs

Their three pieces were unbelievably beautiful:

  1. “To Dance in the Fields of Glory” pays tribute to the military, their sacrifices and their meaningful lives.
  2. “Forever Joyful” describes the boundless energy a puppy has. The composer wrote it after he got a puppy.
  3. “Baila Conmigo” is Spanish “Dance with Me,” a fitting title for a tango.

The winter concert usually gets very challenging because of the weather and the flu season. Several school closings threatened to cancel two of our rehearsals and the director would have none of it.

We practice in a Knox County school, so when they are closed for weather or flu outbreaks, the youth symphony cannot access the building. Well, they came up with a solution.

One night, we went on the UT campus, in the beautiful Natalie Haslam Music Building. We have been there before for violin workshops and recitals, so we were familiar with the layout and parking. All things work together for good.

Back to the winter concert. My daughter’s orchestra passed out programs at the doors before the concert. They take their job seriously. They will start preparing a piece for the April concert, but until then they donned their concert attire and passed out programs at the doors.


Youth Symphony Winter Concert

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The Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras held their Winter Concert on February 13, 2017 at the Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville, as usual. My son’s orchestra, Preludium, played first. Their two pieces were March of the Meistersingers by Richard Wagner and Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Boy walks with his violin at Tennessee Theater

Our son after playing with his orchestra

The other three orchestras – Philharmonia, Sinfonia and the Youth Chamber – also played that night. The top youth symphony orchestra played on the following Monday, on February 20, along with the Concerto Competition winners. We live one hour away from Knoxville so we excused ourselves from attending the concert on the 20th. The kids love classical music but they get bored by sitting in the audience for more than 45 minutes and these concerts last for at least one hour.  Continue reading »

I did not want to drive for two hours both ways only to sit in the audience and shush them down every two minutes. I know they need the opportunity to practice sitting down and being quiet, but I think we do pretty well by attending our regular concerts when one of them is on stage or the professional concerts for children by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra plus church events. One must draw the line somewhere, otherwise we would be all over the place.

So on the 13th, when our son was on stage, we had a lot of fun taking in the sights and sounds at the Tennessee Theater again. For me, there is no greater joy than to see my children make music. I am proud of their other achievements but there is something about music. I wish I had gone further in my own music efforts as a child and so I naturally want my children to go further than I did. It’s the classic syndrome of a parent’s unfulfilled dreams which get passed onto the children.

My children enjoy music and they hum while they play throughout the day. They even hum while doing their math. Do they complain about having to practice daily? Sure. But they are slowly learning that quitting is not an option and skipping practice is not an option either. If they had to choose, they would probably stick with piano and ditch violin, but I will not give them an out. We have invested too much in this endeavor – it would be a waste.

Therefore, we press on, and participating in orchestra actually helps them enjoy violin more. They get to be with other children and receive that gentle peer pressure from having to keep up with their stand partners. They belong to a group who plays string instruments and I think it helps them stay motivated to practice. By building skills, they build confidence and enjoyment ensues. We look forward to receiving their new music for the spring concert, which will be in May.