The Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra performed its all-Mozart program tonight! We played the Overture to Cosi fan Tutti, the bassoon concerto in B-flat Major and the all too well known G Minor Symphony No. 40.
I tried to get all of my students to come but I didn't see any of them there. For some reason, the Chamber Orchestra concerts at Shepherd are never well attended while the Symphony Orchestra concerts are so packed that at least a hundred people end up watching the performance on the big screen TV in the lobby! I've talked with a lot of people trying to figure out why this is.. no one seems to have the answer. I for one believe that most audience members are under the false impression that the Chamber Orchestra is a "lesser" orchestra compared to the Symphony. Maybe because the concerts are often shorter, and the orchestra is over 50% smaller which kind of looks like they're the "extras" that didn't "make it" into Symphony.
This is all speculation of course, I don't really know why generating an audience for the Chamber Orchestra concerts is so difficult. But tonight we had a really wonderful crowd!! The whole bottom of the auditorium was almost packed! (Is it because people just really like Mozart..?) Let me tell you, it certainly makes a difference when you're playing on stage and there's more than 100 or so audience members randomly scattered around the hall.
I was principal second for this concert and I was so proud of my section! They really handled everything beautifully and I felt that we were extremely together and energized for the most part. Great job guys! I thought it was funny that my section this semester was entirely made up of girls. Last night during the Shepherd Symphony Orchestra concert (which was amazing by the way!!!) I began counting girls versus guys in the sections. In the violins there were 21 girls vs. 7 guys, cellos 8 girls vs. 5 guys and in the violas 10 girls vs. 2 guys!!!! How did I never notice this before?? Mr. Goldsmith wasn't kidding when he said the ratio for female applicants versus male applicants for music schools is 4:1!!! (Has anyone else noticed this at their school?)
The concert went wonderfully though. Cosi fan Tutti managed to pull itself together after some shaky rehearsals, Matthew McDonald was spectacular in the bassoon concerto, and the orchestra really came to life during the Symphony. Of course, Larry is incredible with Mozart; he seems to feel it so much more intuitively than other conductors. So all in all, this was a really fantastic Chamber Orchestra experience!
What are your opinions on Chamber Orchestras? And for those who may not be musicians, why might you or might not choose to go to a chamber orchestra concert? Maybe with your help I can come up with some ideas to boost attendance at the Shepherd School's Chamber Orchestra concerts!