There is a moment…the lights have gone down and your heart swells with the first few notes of the music. That moment where your breath stops for just a second as the full sound of the orchestra washes over you, allowing you to appreciate the full glory of the work as the composer intended it. No CD, no iPod, not even the finest home stereo can capture the experience of a live orchestra performing the work of music’s masters.
Our Saturday date night was different, it seemed more special. There was something new added to our weekend plans because we were seeing a concert, we were going to the Philharmonic! A little more dressed up, wearing clothes we typically wouldn’t wear to the corner bars we frequent on the weekends. We went out for a quick bite to eat enjoying each others company. We left the restaurant and began to walk down the street taking in the late summer breeze. Greeted by marquee lights and the hustle of downtown, there was a feeling that came over me that I have rarely had here. I could embrace the city and all it had to offer, taking in all of the people and culture that surrounds us daily that we don’t often get to see.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic invited me to come and join them for their Latitude, Longitude Season Opener of Destination New York City. I couldn’t be more excited to open up the Wyoming Valley portion of The Oxford Guide with it.
I know minimal about playing an instrument and even less about classical music. The extent of my musical career lasted just long enough so my French horn and I could go to Hershey Park. I was third chair and most of the time I just liked to pretend I was playing by sticking my hand into the bell. Well it wasn’t until the 2nd chair quit and the 1st chair got sick, that my solo debut and finale took off to “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”!
I initially played the flute, an instrument that seemed so quiet and meek compared to the big brass instrument I would lug home every night. Once I realized it wasn’t the force an instrument was capable of but each instrument knowing their place in a piece, I learned to really enjoy the beauty of an orchestra. There was something amazing about how all these different instruments that created their own sounds came together to create this wonderful work of art.
Experiencing music live, is art in its purest form. Music created with passion gives me goosebumps and chills and allows for feelings that are too good for words. The sound, the notes, the atmosphere that the orchestra created as they played flawlessly in tune will bring audiences back time and time again.
The night opened with the orchestra playing the Star Spangled Banner and the audience without a moment of hesitation rose to their feet and began to sing. It seems silly but these are the feelings I’m talking about. Having an entire audience of all ages, come together to sing the music performed by our very own local orchestra is incredible. The Press Release goes on to explain the pieces the musicians would be performing:
“The program, Destination New York City, will include “Javelin” by Michael Torke; “Piano Concerto in F”, by George Gershwin, with acclaimed pianist Orion Weiss; “Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan” by Charles Griffes; and “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein. Mélisse Brunet, the Philharmonic’s new apprentice conductor, will conduct “Pleasure Dome of Kubla Kahn.”
I can’t talk about crescendos or the key each piece was played in but I can tell you how I felt. If you have ever felt passionate about anything in your life you can see how each musician on stage expressed their love and desire through each note. Every being of their bodies synced together to create incredible music. They moved with grace and ease. All in sync as I watched their bows rise and fall together. Each note danced off the sheet music into our hearts, while so many different components meshed and blended together.
The Philharmonic offers many different performances, from the Pops (a change from the classical side) to more intimate Chamber concerts. Check out the 2015-16 Season Brochure and go to a show! Enjoy our local Philharmonic and all they bring to our area. I will without a doubt be attending more performances and I am so grateful for this opportunity! We have an incredible orchestra in our region, bringing us some renowned talent to embrace the culture we have in our backyard. So go out and support the NEPA Philharmonic, just one of the amazing things to do in Northeastern Pennsylvania.