Trying to step out of a comfort zone is not an easy job. I always tend to stick with what I am used to; this time, I took a step out of a confined box by participating in Korea International Music Educators Association (KIMEA) National Honor Festival, which was hosted by Chadwick International. I had the honor to participate in the NHF orchestra. Dr. Kang, my school orchestra teacher, suggested giving a shot at auditioning for the ensemble by submitting an audio file of a simple scale and a short excerpt. By this, I had to express my fingering, bowing, and vibrato techniques. Due to my curiosity of how an auditioned orchestra would be like, I dedicated a great amount of time practicing and recording the audio file. After a few days, Dr. Kang gladly informed me that I was accepted into the orchestra. Since it was my first time joining an orchestra with advanced auditioned players, I was thrilled and anxious at the same time.
|[KIMEA NHF Day 1 Rehearsal photo from KIMEA Facebook page]
When the first day of KIMEA practice approached, I had to miss a day at school for a full-day rehearsal at Chadwick International. When the Strings orchestra player all gathered up as a large group at the Multi-purpose room at Chadwick, the silent atmosphere tensed me. I was surrounded by people from different schools, which I completely had no idea of who they were. As our conductor, Mr. Mann, appeared, the whole orchestra hushed; nothing could have been quieter than this. That moment, the apprehensiveness overwhelmed me so much that I wanted to leave that area in any second if I could. Since my stand partner was a senior, I felt even more pressured. What if I make a mistake? What if I make a mistake that ruins the whole orchestra? Then, Mr. Mann opened his chapped lips and began introducing himself to us with a deliberate British accent. After introducing himself, we began playing Sinfonia X written by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Mr. Mann told us that Mendelssohn wrote Sinfonia X when he was around my age. He was a genius; he wrote such a beautiful yet very intense music in a very young age. The music began with serene harmonics; the perfect pitch filled up the gym with serenity. My limbs shook uncontrollably with nervousness, causing myself to play in pianississimo (ppp): the softest and quietest I could play. As we continued playing, the harmony of the music dramatically switched to an intense dynamic.
Mr. Mann then seemed slightly unsatisfied with our play and told us to play that part again with more emotion. He was a passionate conductor who dedicated so much effort to make us express the feelings through the message of our music piece. Since I struggled so much playing along with others with the fast part of the music, my stand partner helped me a lot of times so that I could catch up easily. He was such a generous and a skillful player - I would not have been able to go through the two days without him.
|[KIMEA NHF Day 2 National Honor Orchestra Performance photo from KIMEA Facebook page]
When the second day came, our orchestra practiced even harder to make a successful performance. Despite lunchtime, we devoted most of our time practicing as separated sections as well as an orchestra. Again and again, everyone went through frustration and dissatisfaction, but no one said a single word that sounded like a complaint. As if we have never gone through any hardships, after our performance, the smiles returned to every players of the orchestra. As we all went off the stage, we all said to each other, “Great job.” I realized how comfortable I got with the orchestra players. Also, I felt relieved but also sad that the festival lasted only for two days. It was such a memorable experience which I think I would cherish even in the future. Later on, I realized I got bruises on the left side of my chin. Although it was painful, since it proved my hard work, I was proud and pleased about it instead of getting upset.
Korea International School
Violet Hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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