On Stage with the Symphony

I have never been the musical one in my family or my circle of friends. I played the violin for one year before my parents finally let me given it up. tried the recorder in the grade school and I didn’t get it. Always wanted to play the sax because I thought it was a “sexy” instrument and girls would like me but it never got further than that.

That’s why when I was asked to serve as narrator for Tuesday’s Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra community engagement concert at Wilkinsburg High School, I wanted expecting a memory of a lifetime. I figured I would just come to the school and read off a script. It’s a great event as it has raised $48K over the last six years to aid the Wilkinsburg School District music program.

However, I got quite a suprise when I was asked to show up 9:30 in the morning for a meeting with conductor Daniel Meyer and a rehearsal with the orchestra — at Heinz Hall. Now I have been to a lot of theatres around town, but never Heinz Hall … and never on stage.

When I arrived that morning and walked onto the stage, the symphony was in the midst of “warming up”. Fifty people playing their instrument, just loosening up and not worrying about what the other person was playing. Somehow, it sounded fantastic … as if everyone was on the same page. But that was nothing compared to when the actual performance began.

I was asked to narrate “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”. a creation that is meant to demonstrate how an orchestra works by intorducing individual instruments and then bring them all together. My job was introduce each instrument and describe what it would do. The conductor was nice enough to cue me as to when I should speak .. and what was coming next. We did it one time … and it was perfect! However, the thing that got me was being on this stage with the world-famous Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall. It was like being in Yankee Stadium and working out with the Bronx Bombers. Ok, maybe not that great but it was a moment I won’t forget and it made the evening’s concert a breeze.

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