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.

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