Oberlin Blogs

An open letter about College Orchestra

March 27, 2011

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

Dear Anna and Jeffrey1,

First of all, sorry that I haven't kept in better touch. As you probably understand all too well, when something only has a due date of 'at some point,' it's easy to keep putting it off, and though I keep meaning to write to you and tell you how Hannah and I are doing filling your shoes, I keep having other things to do. But it's Spring Break now, so I'm actually going to give you an update on how the orchestra is going.

For one thing, we're an ExCo now. I don't know if Hannah or I ever mentioned that. I know that's what you guys tried to do in the beginning, and it's a really great improvement. As you can probably guess, the fact that people can play in the orchestra and get credit is very nice. It also maybe makes it easier for us to schedule rehearsal space. We have two rehearsals a week now--an hour and a half for each--and for the Saturday rehearsals we have C252 reserved for the whole semester already. I'm not sure how much of that is because of ExCo status and how much of that is Matt's3 doing, but either way that's one big worry out of the way. We still have to reserve rehearsal space on a weekly basis for our second rehearsal, but so far that hasn't been a problem.

Now Zoë, you may be thinking. Three hours of rehearsing a week? That's a lot of rehearsing time. And you'd be right. But another thing that I may or may not have already mentioned to you is that now we're doing two concerts a semester. That was Matt's idea, and while Hannah and I were a little apprehensive at first, so far it's been working.

A couple Saturdays ago, we had our first concert of the semester. We've gotten really into postering lately--I have a lot of recruiting posters to hang up when I get back to campus--and we postered fairly heavily for the concert. Let me tell you, it's great having a budget. I honestly don't know how you guys got by without SFC giving you money. I'm in awe.

Anyway, the main reason I'm writing this is to tell you how pleased I was with the concert. We still had to get Con players, of course, especially in the brass section, but we have a bit more string players than we've had before, so that's good.

When Hannah and I were talking about how many programs to make for the concert, I said forty-two, because fifty seemed too optimistic but thirty seemed like too few. I'm not sure how many Hannah made, but we ran out. That's because we had over sixty people in the audience. Over sixty people. I counted, but I'm not used to counting crowds that big, so all you're going to get is that estimate.

Also, here's the cake that Hannah got for us. Classy, right? Haha.

(Remember the days when we were getting the little cakes from Gibson's?)

So, in conclusion, we're still going. At times, Hannah and I definitely aren't doing as good a job as you guys did, but things are still working out, and I'm generally feeling very positive.

And keep emailing us. I promise that we'll at least try to respond.

~ Zoë

1 The now-graduated founders of the Oberlin College Arts and Sciences Orchestra.
2 The orchestra rehearsal room in the Conservatory.
3 Our conductor.

Responses to this Entry

Ahhh I had plans to go to this concert with my parents but all the timing that whole weekend was so messed up. I'm sorry I missed it (but I will be at the next one for sure)!

Posted by: Ma'ayan on March 28, 2011 2:16 PM

Wow... it sounds as if the people who attend the conservatory have a lot of fun. I hear its a really good program. Maybe I'll be able to join you all in a couple of years if everything goes right. After all, everyone always needs bassoonists... especially the ones who also play oboe. Or so I'm told anyway =]

I know this probably isn't a good place to do this, but you're in the orchestra it seems, and I have a question, actually. I'll be a junior in high school next year, and will need to start putting in my college applications. I don't suppose you would happen to know how hard it would be to get into the double-degree program would you? I'd like to get my degree in biology so I can eventually get a PhD in general zoology or maybe ornithology. Oberlin seems like it would be a good place to start with all that.

Posted by: Kat on March 29, 2011 9:07 PM

Ma'ayan - Don't worry about it! There will be more concerts, for sure.

Kat - Hi! I, myself, never auditioned for the Conservatory, so I can't really give you a good idea of how hard it is. I will say, however, that there are definitely people who are double degree students with their College major in one of the sciences. In fact, one of my really good friends who's a chemistry major just auditioned for the Con. So, yes, Oberlin is a great place to do both.

For more (and clearer) information about double degree stuff, I'd talk to Will. He's a Jazz Performance/Politics major.

Posted by: Zoë on March 30, 2011 11:36 PM

I'm really looking forward to doing OCASO next year, if I am able to go to Oberlin. Do you have any details on current bass players I could talk to? (yes i play bass, I did not pick a random instrument)

Posted by: Anais on April 6, 2011 1:25 PM

Anais - As it turns out, bass is one of the instruments that we're trying to get in our orchestra. We don't have any bassists right now, but hopefully soon...

(And OCASO would definitely be excited to have you play with us next year!)

Posted by: Zoë on April 10, 2011 10:18 PM

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