So I did some practicing. Not nearly enough, simply because I didn't think they'd actually put me on stage again, but I did practice a bit. And it paid off. Imagine that. I now can successfully add "bongo player for the 'Crouching Tiger' score" to my expat brewed resume.
If you don't know what I'm referring to, you could go back and read here. In short though, my Taiwanese family runs the Taichung City Symphony Orchestra, as well as the city's Youth Orchestra. Throughout my time here, I've had the pleasure of attending numerous orchestra and chamber engagements, but this past Sunday marked my second performance playing in the symphony.
Now, let's just get something straight... I'm not a musician. I've been around music my whole life, and I've taken a few piano lessons and such growing up, but I haven't played/read sheet music in years. Long ago, I decided this was for everyone's best interest. That said, I love music. So much so, I've continually found ways to surround myself with people who have made music their life. Apparently, my life in Taiwan is no exception.
No worry though, musicianship isn't a requirement for me to join the youth orchestra. In fact, upon participating, I became known as Teacher Chase. This position was further solidified when introductions were being made during the performance. The emcee had each of the adult performers stand as she announced who they are, what they play, who they teach, and where their various degrees and doctorates in music are from. As she circled her way towards the back, I wondered what she'd say about me. Pointing in my direction, she announced, "Chase 老师 (lao shu, meaning teacher)..." She paused, as did I, waiting for what I knew was bound to come: "uh, he's a foreigner." Politely, the audience applauded. Obviously, the term teacher doesn't so much imply adequate knowledge of music able to impart upon eager students, but rather "Slightly older than the shorter ones, and wearing a blue shirt."
All that aside, I really did have a good time with this one. We performed at the Taichung City's Science Museum. Not in their auditorium, but instead in the middle of the walk way. Admittedly, this was a bit strange to me, but we were able to pick up an audience of foot traffic to add to the mothers, fathers and camera-clad grandparents.
Prior to our performance, we spent 5 days in the south of Taiwan at a resort that ran itself like a campground facility. (Orchestra Band Camp? Never thought I'd be there.) It was a great time with the kids, and I developed as many highfives and secret handshakes as I could, which as you know, solidifies two people as friends forever. It's strange knowing that my time with this group is over, as I'll be returning home before their next semester begins again. I hope that my presence made some sort of impact on them that goes beyond "Silly foreigner can't play on beat."
All together, I played on about 7 or so pieces. At a later date, I hope to compile a medley of all the different instruments and percussion pieces I used, but in the meantime, here are the full length performances of highlights from both the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" score, and the "Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian" score.