The First Rehearsal

The First Rehearsal
October 19, 2017 Pierce O'Brien
In Conducting
Conducting 2017

For a while, to describe myself and my aspirations, I have used the phrase “I want to go into conducting.” So far, I had never applied the skills I learned in a classroom setting. I felt like I couldn’t legitimize myself until I conducted in front of a real group. Now that my first official rehearsal in the books, I actually feel like a conductor. I led an impromptu rehearsal of the Dvorak Nocturne in B Major which I plan to perform on my upcoming recital. After I recruited my small orchestra, I had been trying to get a quick rehearsal to happen with the five principal players before I had to stand in front of almost 20 players. This experience was crucial because it is going to help the first full rehearsal go so much smoother. Those 17 minutes felt like a rite of passage that couldn’t have come at a better time. I was going through a bit of a slump as the semester picked up steam, but I feel fully revitalized with a sense of excitement and urgency as I channel my hyper-focus to finish preparing for my recital. Refer to the -Projects- page for more information on how to view the finished product.

The idea for this recital came to me over the summer. I knew I wanted to conduct a group in some capacity this semester. I also knew that I had not started planning early enough to prepare, recruit players, and conduct an entire concert . I wanted to find a way to gain some conducting experience. If I conducted a couple short pieces on a recital I would need more content. I began thinking about what I could add. Then it dawned upon me that a great way to make a statement about who I am and how far I’ve come would be to showcase everything I’ve learned how to do at Blair. So, I have programmed pieces for tuba, euphonium, piano. I even got a combo together because I’ve still kept up what I learned from my jazz improv and theory courses. I’ll be playing trombone in that group. Even though the focal point was creating a conducting opportunity for myself, I was satisfied at the outcome of the program I created. The title became “Bits and Pierces” because I love puns but I am also doing only a ~bit~ of each thing I know how to do. Given my nature and personality, I feel an equally fitting title would have been something along the lines of: “Pierce demonstrates symptoms of ADHD by not doing any one thing for longer than 10 minutes.”

In two and a half weeks, I will walk out on stage and expose myself to not only an audience but also the whole of Facebook through their relatively new Live feature. I haven’t done something this complex or involved since I completed my Eagle Scout project back in 2014, and just as that first day on the worksite showed that I was capable of completing the project, so did this first rehearsal remind me that my worst fears will not be realized. My first experience with conducting was such a joy and a thrill. I have a feeling I will become very comfortable in this new setting.