Hello readers! This is my first post, and I wanted to start with something simple: my typical Thursday. It’s more entertaining than it sounds, I promise.
Like the teenager I am, I woke up at the early hour of noon and grabbed some classic chicken and rice from the dining hall. After freshening up and a short walk to the Krannert Center, it was time for rehearsal! I’m a member of an ensemble called Chamber Orchestra. However, violins are not needed for the opera we are performing, so on those rehearsal days, we also get to play in the String Orchestra. Both are super fun and high-performing groups. We played two different pieces, Serenade by Josef Suk, and Starburst by Jessie Montgomery. A fun bit of information, Josef Suk was the great-grandson of the highly esteemed composer Dvorak. I originally met him when I was 6 years old during a violin trip to Prague.
That’s enough flexing, let us get back to the rehearsal. The Serenade, a lovely piece composed for string orchestra, has no woodwinds and is in E flat major. The piece bright and vibrant, but also has some of that darker Czech musicality from his great grandfather. It’s fairly simple and ingenious music.
The other piece, Starburst, is a contemporary work. I think it’s very important that the musicians of tomorrow get educated in not only the classics but also a decent variety of modern literature. It’s something UIUC balances extremely well. The cool part is that we got to record the piece for a project involving black excellence. I don’t know too much about what it was for, but it was a wonderful experience being able to play and kind-of-perform an amazing work by a modern black female composer.
But, not everything was smooth sailing. The piece had quite complex rhythms and contained many more unpredictable intervals compared to the Suk. As a stressed sightreader, it was quite a stressful experience and at one point, my friend and I gave each other very panicked eyes. All in all, it was a great rehearsal that certainly required constant focus and attention.
After rehearsal, I walked back (the weather was thankfully not nearly as cold as the few days prior) to my lovely abode at Allen Hall. Back at the crib, I relaxed and watched Trailer Park Boys friends for a little while and got some dinner, which was a much-deserved break after the workout my brain just repped out. At 7:30, I met with my new string quartet members over zoom to break the ice and work out some logistics before our first rehearsal Friday. They are all super talented and cool people! It’s always been very nice to meet new people here at the University of Illinois as it hasn’t exactly been the greatest year on Earth.
Finally, after doing some MUS108 (aural skills) homework and making a hot mug-brownie, it was bedtime.
I hope you enjoyed hearing the inside scoop about my typical Thursday! As a music student here, I’m extremely grateful that I’m able to take in-person lessons and participate in ensembles during the pandemic. It’s something I no longer take for granted, and I have a lot of fun.