When It All Comes Together For the Orchestra

Over the past few weeks, Lily was practicing her viola for her orchestra concert. One of her pieces was the theme from Dvorak’s New World Symphony, one of my favorites. What she was practicing, however, sounded nothing like the symphony I know. She is a beginning string player, so you can imagine what she sounds like. She’s still learning to tune her instrument and use her bow. As you can imagine, there are a lot squeaks when she plays.

When all 20 of the fourth grade orchestra students gathered together on their big night, however, the piece from the symphony came together as all the violins, violas, cellos and basses played. It wasn’t perfect, but to all of us parents, it sounded beautiful!

It was a week for listening to the orchestra. For Christmas, Ed bought me tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Riccardo Muti conducting. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to see him conduct. I had never been to the Symphony Center before, so it was a great gift! Way back in December, though, February 28th seemed far away. Before I knew it, it was the middle of February and I needed to find a babysitter!


My friend’s wonderful teenaged daughter was up for the job. Ed made reservations at a restaurant we’ve always wanted to try. The traffic at the tollbooth on the Kennedy eased up when it was supposed to.  We found parking easily in the Grant Park parking garage under Michigan Avenue, and there was a section just for the Symphony Center! There was even a parking attendant helping people pay for their parking, and she was NICE! Going downtown had never been so easy!

Ed had bought us seats on the main level. Symphony Center was smaller than I had imaged and we were fairly close to the orchestra. No cameras were allowed, so I behaved and didn’t take any pictures to show you. The most hilarious thing happened between movements. These sophisticated people going to the Symphony coughed and coughed. It was thought they were so afraid to make noise when the orchestra was playing that they held it all in until the quiet moments between the movement. (You know, the time when you are not supposed to clap but wait for the orchestra to begin the next movement.) If I were a germophobe, I would have been violently twitching in my seat. Ed and I just looked at each other and (silently) laughed.

The highlight of the concert was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6, which was gorgeously played. It was worth a standing ovation, which we as an audience gave.

I have been stuck in the Grant Park parking garage for hours before (after Taste of Chicago and the fireworks) but this time, there were parking attendants helping direct cars out of the garage. Of course we got stuck behind someone who had not prepaid their parking ticket as they were supposed to, but the same nice parking attendant who had helped us before the concert helped this guy out. It was snowing gently as we left downtown Chicago.

We pulled into the driveway at exactly 11:00, the time we told the babysitter we would be home. Our evening out came together perfectly!

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9 Replies to “When It All Comes Together For the Orchestra”

  1. AW!!! I love how it all came together so perfectly and that you were able to take in the AMAZING music!! I used to teach beginning band, and WOWZA it was a bit difficult to pull it off!! SO glad your sweetie was part of something bigger, to see how so many pieces of the music so beautifully fit together into a work of art!! It’s truly a masterpiece!!

    I remember vividly, after having a regional band (Several schools together combined for a festival) played with my conducting- and I turned to the crowd after the performance and said “Do you HEAR THAT? They DID IT!!” LOL I myself was even astounded at the end result! 😉
    Chris Carter recently posted…I Am What I Am, And I am EnoughMy Profile

  2. What a gorgeous evening, in so many ways. I love when it all works out. And I love the symphony. I’m always amazed at how many people cough during movies and plays. Why does the world cough so much??? Well, it is winter.
    I can’t hold mine in, though!
    Tamara recently posted…Let’s Go Shooting Together.My Profile

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