Australian Youth Orchestra July Season 2011: Blog 1
By Natasha Conrau
The first day of my AYO season began in the usual fashion – a trip to Melbourne Airport, a brief argument with the automatic bag drop at check in, then through security to the gate lounge where I was cheerfully greeted by Bonnie Williams and Rhianwen Bramble. A very lovely start to the first day! Upon arriving in Sydney, the Melbourne crowd joined a bevy of musicians milling around outside the airport, all smiling and chattering profusely. I saw a lot of old AYO friends around, however, the majority of the faces were new to me.
We were then driven to The Women’s College to get acquainted with our temporary home and were given a ‘briefing’ for the season by our lovely AYO staff. Dinner consisted of the usual college food – interesting to look at, with some fascinating fluro coloured drinks to go with it. We’re quite lucky that our accommodation is in Newtown, right near some great Thai restaurants that will no doubt be frequented this week (including my personal favourite ‘Thai Riffic’).
The last thing on the agenda was a rehearsal in Eugene Goossens hall. I sat down next to my deskie, Leigh Thompson, who also happens to be my oldest AYO friend attending this season – a very nice coincidence. We ran through Nielsen’s Symphony No.5 and Vine’s Violin Concerto. The Nielsen contains one incredibly long unison passage for the string section. Prior to the rehearsal I heard a lot of comments like ‘How are we possibly going to play it that fast, in unison, in tune, and make it sound good?’ Fabian Russell very kindly took it at a reasonable ‘first rehearsal speed’ and while it was definitely a tad messy, the terror was lifted. It did, however, reveal just how much work we’re going to have to do to get this polished in just a week. And the challenge begins!