Orchestra + Band

30 08 2007

I recently came upon this blog entry by Grant Park Symphony bassist John Floeter where he writes about playing with a band from the orchestra’s point of view. How closely his opinion resembles that of a violinist friend of mine (and, admittedly, my own) is a bit…I don’t know how to put it…disturbing(?)

With the Orchestra’s unofficial tradition of playing Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls every year, I’m aware of how boring the orchestra’s parts can be: long lines of dotted half-notes which follow simple, two-step patterns over and over again. In fact, the only reason we find ourselves playing it year after year (I am thankful we only have to do it once a year) is because it’s a “recruitment” piece: after performing it, somebody invariably comes up saying they want to join the orchestra.

Having watched enough MTV Music Award shows on TV (what were you thinking?) featuring popular acts backed-up by an orchestra (and having watched it once live), I can relate with John’s sentiments:

…it’s a very uncomfortable experience with repetitive parts, deafening sound despite earplugs, and probably worst of all; the feeling that what I play doesn’t matter.

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