Look at that! Scores for my beautiful melodica to play in a Queensland Music Festival orchestra in Logan! The pdfs arrived in my inbox a day before the first rehearsal.
“You have arrived at your destination,” said my GPS, on the Brown Plains Road with trees everywhere and not a sports centre in sight. Aw come on! I have zero internal GPS and don’t want to be late! A U-turn and some scouring of the horizon for any building.. yes! Found the sports stadium with ten minutes to go.
I headed for Court No. 2, which was milling with people!
“Who have we got? Any sax players yet? Over here!” Shaun Dorney, QMF Orchestra Director and Conductor, was bellowing. He was seating people within an area defined by red tape. This was the size and shape of our raised stage, which has yet to be built.
“Excuse me, what instrument do you play?” This chap was directing people to their music folders.
“Melodica,” I said.
“Oh hello!” Isabel Hart looked up. She’s Project Co-Ordinator, and was the first person I met at the audition about a month ago.
“Your music is down there on the extreme right,” she said. The folders of music were laid out on the floor, and sure enough, all by itself at the end, was a lovely black folder with the label MELODICA on it! Rockin’!
Oop. That’s me!
Shaun seated me with some oboe players. Fresh-faced high-schoolers. I leaned over and peeped at their music, it looked similar to mine.
“We have the widest range of musicians ever!” Tara Hobbs beamed. Tara is QMF Producer on the project. “All ages and ranges of musical abilities.”
This is Jay Turner, who composed one of our main songs! He has a beautiful mandolin, all amped up. I’m gonna ask him to jam with me when I get the chance.
QMF Creative Director Sean Mee explained to us the context in which we were playing. It’s a massive two-day celebration in Logan entitled Under This Sky, which will take place at the Logan Brothers Rugby League Club August 1-2.
Under This Sky is a story of joy and identity, of the ordinary and the extraordinary. This is an epic celebration of place. QMF website
SBS is documenting the entire project journey.
Then we were into it. Shaun Dorney had a quick discussion with Jay about the rhythm, then he was conducting! Downstroke, “Two, three, four…”
Are you serious? Just like that? Does everyone know their bits already?
We have compositions written by Morganics, and Jay Turner, with arrangements by Erin Thomson and Shaun Dorney.
I’ve never played in an orchestra before, and I expected that the conductor would sort of point at me and wave me in.
I looked at my music… 2 bars of not playing. Then another 15 bars, maybe we’re here now? Then 13 bars, 12, 13, 8… then my first phrase…
“Melodica! I didn’t hear you!”
Of course not, I haven’t a clue where we are. Yikes! I got the hang of it fast enough, pressing my fingers against my thigh to keep count!
“Sometimes the hardest bit is when you’re NOT playing,” Tara said later when I expressed my new insight. No relaxing and listening to the other musicians then!
Next rehearsal in two weeks. 🙂