Last night was the first time this season the whole orchestra rehearsed together. The first rehearsal with the entire orchestra always feels a bit foreign. We were, as we are a good deal of the time, on the stage of the Tennessee Theater. Even before we started to play, I noticed the acoustics of the hall. Has it always been that resonant? Even verbal instructions seemed to reverberate more than I remembered from last May. You could almost see the final note of our run-through of Pictures bouncing around the empty seats in the house.
I had also forgotten the sheer force of the orchestra. In loud passages you can feel the music with your entire body. Vibrations from lower instruments can be felt across the stage. There is also the sense of being swept along with the group.
At the beginning of the rehearsal it felt like everyone was remembering where they fit into the group. Even though it's awkward at first, I'm always surprised at how fast we all fall back into it. When we first started rehearsing last night I was overwhelmed by the sound. It was difficult to pick out and pay attention to the individual parts I needed to listen to in order to make my part fit in. I also noticed my bow arm was sore because I was playing too loud in order to hear myself. After the first twenty minutes of rehearsal I regained my equilibrium. From what I heard, the rest of the group had too. People were joking and happy. It was a great start to the season.