Tinderbox Fest & NYO Leadership Day – crazy weekend

This morning at 07:10am, I flew to London to take part in the NYO Leadership Day. Here, I sat in workshops on leadership, played alongside the other principal players of the NYO and was briefed on general orchestral etiquette and my role in the orchestra.

This is my violin waiting to get on the London Underground:
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Last night, I came back at around 11pm after playing at the Tinderbox Fest with Kite and Crane and Tinderbox Orchestra. My clumsy head had only about 5 hours sleep before I had to dash off to something different the next day. On top of that, neither my mother or myself managed to get up at 5am in order to arrive in good time for my flight. I got up at 06:15am; my gate was due to close at 06:40.
… = Panic!

By some incredulous miracle, I made it. I’m telling you now, nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible. All you have to do is run and then bribe the security guys at the check-point to let you skip the queues by exaggerating your anxiety.

Aw, no problem, darlin’, you got plenty o’ time.

Tinderbox Fest was a wonderful event! A huge variety of bands on show in various rooms of the venue. I planned to free myself from work that night, since I had had a rather busy week at school with rehearsals and all sorts.

This is Black Diamond Express in the Red Room. Amazing, amazing (and stylish) band who shook the floor so much that people started dancing. I hope the percussionist’s thigh is okay because I saw him violently hitting himself with various maracas and tambourines during the performance; I have never ever seen such passionate whacking in my life. He was wearing sunglasses as well.
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Lissa and I before we went on stage.
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The pink and purple stage lights were burning the floor; the audience were bunched right at the front; my violin was amplified with a semi-adhesive device; and one or two photographers were drifting around. One of our pieces involved a composer and projector screen, where our musical directions were written for us live and improvised, a seriously cool concept which (I hope) captivated the crowd! Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

What a fun night! Although I did have the ‘impending doom’ of the leadership day creeping behind me. No, I wasn’t really scared; I think I was more nervous because I didn’t know the music as confidently as a principal player should. This Winter course, NYO are playing Holst’s The Planets, John Adam’s Guide to Strange Places and Britten’s Four Sea Interludes.

Each work has its own challenges. Just my luck: the tutors picked the Holst and Adams for today’s purposes, which were the pieces I had spent the least time studying. All I could do was cross my fingers and hope for the best. Petrified!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosAfter the manic airport business, I arrived in London with quite a bit of time to spare. Aha, I said to myself, time for Christmas shopping! Yet bad luck, for shops open late on Sundays. (No worries I bought them in Heathrow later this evening.) I ended up strolling around Oxford street aimlessly. I bought a small mocha, got my scarf stuck in my zip and after realising I had no reason to be on this street, decided to visit the London School of Economics and Political Science – one of the universities I have applied to.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosObviously since it was a Sunday, LSE didn’t have any events or anything open for the public. Anyway, I didn’t have a lot of time to browse and I only wished to see the area around the university. I must say, if, in the whole mystery of the universe, I manage to receive an offer from this institution, I’d love to come here for my further education.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
– I also spotted this insanely tall and thin cactus in one of the windows.

For the leadership day, NYO invited Steve Radcliffe to talk to us about being role models, building confidence in other people, conquering fear and aiming to be the best leaders we can be. We discussed our human tendencies to be either angry, stressed or withdrawn when put in an exposed position, and how to be aware of our irrational behavior in these situations. A very interesting talk, not just for orchestral leading but for everyday life!

Despite not feeling secure about my playing, I was extremely (and strangely) eager to rehearse! It reminded me so much of the excitement I get when performing with an enormous orchestra. That was just being 5th desk of the second violins – how energising will it be when I’m at the front with Djeikub encouraging a huge violin section?! Ahhhhh!

Well I can already say I’m loving it and I’m eternally grateful to have been given this opportunity. I do need to prepare myself better though. Today has made me realise how much responsibility and influence we have on other members.
If this means memorising my parts in order to be alert at all times, then so be it.

Tomorrow: School Christmas concert
Tuesday: Senior Christmas pantomime (I still need to learn my lines…)

Alas, the HOLIDAYS – which will find me locked in my room doing homework and practice.


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