Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Evening IN the Orchestra, or The Art of the Triangle

As the title suggested, I finally had the birth - and hopefully death - of my music career.

A couple of months ago, I tagged along with my Taiwan Family to a practice session for the Taichung City Youth Orchestra that they lead. There was a casual suggestion: "Hey, why don't you jump in with the percussionist. It'll be fun."

When it was discovered I have no natural aptitude for playing jazz lines on a ride cymbal, I was relocated to Triangle. Over the next few Saturdays, I learned that you can, indeed, play the Triangle incorrectly. I sweat at the thought of my solo every time it was ushered in by the 20 woodwind students sitting in front of me - most half my age.

We're not even going to discuss the Tambourine.

I did enjoy the bass drum, though. And stumbled along, attempting to recall everything I learned about reading sheet music in my 5th grade piano class, and apply it to these amelodic lines.

At some point around Christmas, I was asked, "So, what do you think? Are you having fun?"
"Yeah, it's great," I replied, without much thought.
"How do you feel about your parts?"
"Well, I mean, I'm getting there, I guess. Why?"
"Good. The performance is next month."
"...the wha?"

Friday night was the culmination of all my hard work, and insufficient practice. In front of nearly a thousand people - in one of the most prestigious music halls in Taichung - I became a professional musician.

I say professional musician not because I was paid. I certainly wasn't. That takes a much different set of qualifications. I say professional because I was told that professionals make a lot of mistakes, but they just know how to hide it and keep going like they meant to play what they did.


Where does my promise of Pirates come in? [One reader guessed it] As our closing piece, we played the "Melodic Highlights" of the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End soundtrack. It was nearly fantastic.
We also covered a few Disney tunes you would expect from a Youth Orchestra, and a couple classics.

One such classic provided a special treat. Flown in from the night before, an Orange County, California based Ballerina performed a Waltz to the Blue Danube.

This Ballerina choreographed the entire pieces (or at least the parts she danced) by herself this week...

This was because the decision to include her in the Evening's performance was so last minute she didn't even make it into the Program. (The host joked with the audience that they met on their mutual flight from LA to Taiwan)

This wasn't true, but...

...This Ballerina also happens to be my little sister.

For the next week and a half, she'll be staying with me to celebrate Chinese New Year. I will be enjoying her company as we tour the city and the island; making her try only the best foods I can find...
[Squid on a Stick in my Mouth]

...constantly teasing her, kicking the bottom of her feet as she walks and any other number of activities that I consider my God-Given First Born Birthrights. Gotta make up for lost time, ya know?

This all will surely keep me occupied, and I might neglect the blog a bit. But I'll be back soon enough. Also, in typical Taiwanese fashion, I've told her (rather than asked her, and with as little forewarning as possible) she'll be guest posting a recap of her time. Look forward to that next week.

Tonight is the Lunar ("Chinese") New Year, so this place is a hubbub of activity. I'm looking forward to a good meal, and will probably come back from this week with more stories and plenty of pictures. But for now, Happy New Year!


Don said...

Nice post, with twists, turns, and surprises!

I like the line, "...constantly teasing her, kicking the bottom of her feet as she walks and any other number of activities that I consider my God-Given First Born Birthrights. Gotta make up for lost time, ya know?"

Wow. I thought I was the only one who still thinks about, and occasionally does, things like kick the bottom of someone's feet while they walk. You go! (Good brothers are hard to find.)

This is all good training for someday being a dad. Your own future kids require this kind of initiation as well. ;-)

insomniaclolita said...

Hey Chase, happy new year..Maybe you'll get a lot of ang paos or something, that would be cool right? lol And enjoy all the meals. A lot of chinese people here celebrate it too, so i'll join the fun..gong xi fa cai, dear!!

Chandy Andre said...

OH! What can I say! A proud Mom moment! You both look great on stage! Wish I could have been there! Thanks for sharing! I laughed all the way though it!

Young Traveler said...

Congratulations on your new triangle playing career! As someone who has a brother, I am all to familiar with the foot-kicking antics. :)

BLOGitse said...

Good for you! Experience you'll never forget!

Happy new year!

ps. is Chandy really your mother?! She looks so young!

floreta said...

hope you had fun playing at your first 'professional' concert. guess that means i'm a professional too! haha. i love percussion!! esp. african drums.. and happy chinese new year! enjoy it with your little sis :)

Gavin said...

"Good. The performance is next month."
"...the wha?"

HA ha, i can see it now...

as for 1000 people, jesus!! i'd shit myself, probably while on stage.

as for squid on a stick, it actually looks great!! I'm just relieved i didnt miss this post, to miss any squid on a stick moments would be missing seriously missing out.

life is good.

Renée said...

Wow nice haha. I guess I can now tell my friends I know a professional musician. "Oh yea, he even played all the way in Taiwan" :p

BLOGitse said...

Chase, you have a challenge on my blog!
I hope it's ok...
Now I mix your balance - sorry! :-)

Chase said...

thanks for all the comments, everyone.

my sister and I are having a lot of fun. We're headed to Taipei tomorrow, and will be there overnight. Also, my computer broke this week. Go figure.

So, I'm not quite sure when I'll be back online. But, like I said, we'll be sure to update you with our adventures


Rachel Tamed said...

Squid on a stick - me likey!

I hope that things are well in your corner of the world Chase. Your blog is always something I look forward to, and I hope that life is treating you well!

Emilee Sutherland said...

Chase, this is so funny. I can totally picture you playing to triangle (sorry) in a very professional way =) You just crack me up, and I'm so impressed you keep going with it! Glad you are having fun with your sis

SuzANNE said...

You live a fascinating life. Thanks for following Make Me Blush. :)

deepteshpoetry said...

Hi Chase

Nice coming over 2 ur blog.I'm Deeptesh from Calcutta.Do stop by my blog and comment on my poems.

Anna Lefler said...

Hey, don't feel bad. Not many people know it, but the triangle is a BITCH.

You're still a Jedi in my book.



Luke St.Hilaire said...

hahaha this is amazing. i'm glad your having a good time. but when the heck are you coming home. i'm still trying to figure out how i can get enough money to go visit you

RazzberryMomma said...

LOL! Great to see you both on stage. Congratulations on your musical debut! I'm sure it was fabulous! Hope you two have a great time!

virginia said...

i went from your blog, and despair about laptop repair, to:

watch when you get it back...story of stuff, including your laptop.

Chase said...

"The Story of Stuff" is fantastic. I'd suggest anyone who hasn't watched it, do.