Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An Afternoon in the Orchestra, or The Art of the Triangle - Take 2

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.


Sebastian said...


I love how the video is focused on you... 'Yeah, just point it at me, I'm the lynchpin of THIS here orchestra!!'

Kidding. I'm impressed :)

Jon and Steph said...

You're so awesome Chase! I just smiled the whole time while watching this! I think it is very cool that you were a part of the orchestra. I am sure this is something you'll remember forever!

floreta said...

dude. i love it! what a cool experience for sure. i'm totally familiar with the crouching tiger score. haha. how dorky. impressive bombastic bongo beats bro. :P and uh, nice guns.

Chandy Andre said...

This is great! How fun! But who is that masked man in the glasses and short hair?

Andhari said...

look at you, the focus of the spotlight :)

Chase said...

@Seb (and Andhari) I should come clean and say it was a family friend recording me with my flip video camera. I intended her to record the whole orchestra, but she weaseled her way close and focused on me. I'm sure @ChandyAndre appreciates that.

@Steph... Thank you for "smiling" and not "doubling over" like I'm sure you wanted to ;) I will most certainly remember this for sometime.

@Floreta, Thanks! If you've seen Men in Black, I like to refer to them as the Noisy (pale) Crickets.
And, uh, nice alliteration.

SuzANNE said...

AHHHH, I'M BACK. AND THERE'S VIDEO ON YOUR PAGE! Love it. Grreat glasses. Work it Chase-E.

Becky said...

Wow...this is incredible chase:) lol

Geeta said...

I'm impressed. From the looks of it, you're the only one playing more then a single intrument. Somebody get the man a grammy :)

John said...

WOW, Finger Cymbal MAN in the muscle shirt, That was great! What a memory. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple months. I am sure it is going to be hard to say goodbye to all your international friends.