On this Thursday evening, like countless Thursdays before, the sounds of the Moore Philharmonic Orchestra fill the hallways of the music wing of Sandhills Community College’s Wellard Hall.
Students and adults alike remove their instruments from their cases with care, making small talk with their fellow performers. The rustling of paper is heard as they arrange the music for tonight’s rehearsal on their stands. Rich tones fill the air as each section begins their warm-up routine. The low rumble of the double bass joins with the chirp of the piccolo for an unlikely duet. The trombone section sends forth a heroic motif, and a violinist responds with a spirited solo. Soon all of the instruments in the room have joined in, their diverse voices proclaiming the work of composers current and classic all at once. The warm-up is in full swing.
To a newcomer, this would sound like directionless noise, mere fragments of familiar melodies coming from myriad directions. To the performers, however, each sound is part of a larger picture – their contribution to the upcoming concert.
Suddenly there is a pause. The director has stepped onto the podium, hand raised to call them to attention. All eyes face forward as the opening statements are made; the scratch of pencils are heard as notes regarding rehearsal order are taken down. A command is given for a tuning note – a lone flute responds, followed by the strings, then the winds and brass. A wave of the hand brings an end to this procedure, and the rehearsal begins in earnest.
One by one, each piece is performed, picked apart, and polished to satisfaction. The conductor provides feedback; the ensemble’s rough phrases become smooth statements. An hour and a half passes in this way, until a final wave of the conductor’s hand brings the orchestra to a pause.
Closing statements are made, the importance of practice for all members is made known, and the rehearsal ends. The postlude of well wishes and goodbyes is heard over the clatter of cases being shut. As the last person exits, the director sounds the final note; the lights are switched off with a click.
As a performer with MPO for the past four seasons, all of these sounds are music to my ears. From the cacophony of seven melodies played at once during warm-ups to the satisfying final cadence of a Beethoven symphony, I am enamored with the work we do.
We come together once a week to breathe life into the notes on the pages before us. It is not the only work we do, however. Our most important work is done when we are encouraging a love of music in our community.
Experienced performers – ranging from hobbyists to Broadway musicians – guide our student musicians towards excellence in rehearsal. With six music teachers in our ensemble, we ensure that our younger performers have the support needed to flourish on their chosen instrument.
We encourage continued excellence through scholarship competitions, opening doors for talented young performers to seek private lessons, superior instruments, or music camp. We also extend our love of music to the general public through free performances.
All are welcome to enjoy a night of music with us, and we hope that you leave our performances with a song in your heart. It is this work that I love most. We take the stage with the charge to nurture the creativity of our youngest musicians and stoke the love of instrumental music in the hearts of the public.
As we enter the music wing once more for our fifteenth season, we continue our mission to inspire young performers and audiences alike. The music is chosen, and the rehearsals are set.
If you would like to join us in sharing the love of great music, our doors are open – the more the merrier. If you would like to share an evening with us in the concert hall, consider this your invitation. Your attendance is warmly welcomed, as is that of young listeners in your life. Today’s audience member could become tomorrow’s virtuoso.
The Moore Philharmonic Orchestra opens its 15th season with their annual Fall Showcase Concert on October 17th at 7 pm at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, NC. An encore performance will be held on October 22nd at 7 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church in Troy, NC. The Moore Philharmonic Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community orchestra. For more information, visit our website at www.mporchestra.com.
Written by K. Morgan, Sandhills Sentinel Contributor.