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A Wizards Guide to the Orchestra: Preparing for a Magical Performance

May 2, 2013

2013-05-01 05.57.45This week was the Landmarks Orchestra’s annual Gala. The gala this year was held in honor of Fay Chandler who has been an important advocate for the arts in the city of Boston. We are happy to report that the event was a huge success and a good time was had by all.

Students from the Conservatory Lab Charter school’s brass ensemble performed a Fanfare for Fay to kick off the evening. It was a wonderful treat and we are so excited to say that this will not be the last time we are able to put these young performers on stage.

At the Gala, Music Director Chris Wilkins provided guests with an outline of our plans for the summer season. The first concert he described is entitled: Gandolfi- A Wizard’s Guide to the Orchestra. At this performance the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will be partnering with students from the Conservatory Lab Charter School to premiere a work composed by award winning composer Michael Gandolfi for double orchestra.

Preparations for the performance are well underway with joint rehearsals beginning this week. For the first few rehearsals, Landmarks Orchestra musicians will be visiting the school to work with students in small groups and (when possible) one-on-one to help them gain mastery of the piece. The first rehearsal was held this past Tuesday, the day before our Gala.


Can you spot Dana Oakes in this photo?

During the warm-up the concentration was remarkable. Students sat silently counting whenever they weren’t playing, some on their fingers, others tapped out time with the aid of a foot or two. Students responded to the directions of their maestro and received corrections with grace. Dana Oakes, principal trumpet with the Landmarks, dove right in. He was already sitting with the students when I arrived. There he was, horn up, sitting in a chair that was much to small for an adult warming up right along-side the students. The  aspiring trumpet players often glanced his way and tried to model his posture and playing.

After warm up, the Landmarks musicians were asked to take groups of students to various locations in the building to work on their parts. Bob Lynam, bass, was asked to take his group to “the hall”. Dana Oakes, trumpet; Adele Ohki, violin and Jolene Kessler, cello were sent to 4th, 5th and 6th grades respectively, while Melissa Howe, viola was asked to take her students to the stairwell. Photos of this last group are difficult to come by, as we could not open the door without knocking into the students.


Other rooms at the school were unavailable due to other rehearsals. The Conservatory Lab Charter School really seems to be determined to make music happen in any space that they have available. The school is just buzzing with the music. We are eager to perform live with this group of dedicated young musicians! Just 22 more days until we make that magic happen.

Teachers interested in bringing their students to this educational performance are welcome to sign up here.

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