Tag Archives: Tour

Day 29: I know, I Missed a Lot of Days

Much has happened in the last few days, so I’ll condense it all into a list for light readers and follow-up with some detail in another post.

1. Wyoming

Beautiful trees, not much air, and an awesome mid-concert break on a gondola to the top of a mountain.

2. Airports

Evidently, when we were leaving Wyoming, we were dangerously close to a 3-hour delay because of too much traffic into San Francisco. The result: I checked my bag, walked over to security, was told to get in the “special line” for orchestra security, did not go through the (what I can only suppose was imaginary) orchestra security, and walked straight onto the tarmac. Fortunately, we made it safely to San Francisco without a 3-hour delay.

3. More Airports

Landing in San Francisco was super awesome because our chartered flights kept having us deplane on the tarmac. So now, I’ve been on the tarmac of two major airports. And that will probably never happen again. But still, I enjoyed walking down the stairs like some important person. I felt, for some strange reason, like I should have been waving at all of my raving fans as I was climbing in my limousine. Or charter bus. Right, this is reality, Aaron.

4. Dinner Parties

I thought I knew what dinner was. I also thought I knew what dinner parties were. I also thought I knew what being an introvert at said dinner parties was like. Turns out, I didn’t know any of those things. A dinner party hosted by Sanford and Joan Weill showed me the truth. It was amazing and terrifying all at once.

5. Concerts (and Concert Halls)

So the Weill hall we played at last night was modeled directly after Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the one we played at a week and a half ago (holy crap that was a week and a half ago). For some unknown reason, I felt a very strong sense of deja vu. I can’t explain it though.

6. And……………Even More Airports

Now, I’m finishing this list back in the SFO international airport. We’re waiting for our flight. Our flight which was scheduled to board at 2:25. It is now 1:15. We have been delayed until 4:50. I guess I’m starting to miss those chartered flights.

Day 23: Deep Dish Pizza

That is all.





Ok. I had some other pretty awesome things happen today, but I felt the pizza deserved some significant recognition. I mean, it was practically an inch thick layer of cheese sandwiched between the crust and sauce of the gods.


Now, concerning the orchestra which is sort of my reason for being in Chicago: our concert tonight was fantastic. I don’t necessarily mean that we sounded fantastic (though everyone I’ve spoken to said we sounded good), but more that it was the perfect follow-up for (what was for me) a somewhat blah concert. Boone was by no means a bad concert. I just wasn’t feeling a solid vibe, if you know what I mean. It was just this weird funk I was in for the entire concert. I felt too relaxed and let some silly things go.


But tonight, I felt the exact opposite. With one or two exceptions, I felt that this performance was the best I could have possibly done. That being said, I still have the minute details I’d like to fix before the end of the tour. Good thing I still have 3 more concerts!


So tomorrow, we’re moving again. Leaving Chicago in the morning, and landing in Wyoming in the evening. I’m not going to lie, the moving is really starting to make me tired. As such, I believe I’m going to take a nap. An 8 hour nap. That’s the best kind of nap.

Day 22: I’m Sorry Metropolises

I must admit that I gave big cities a bad reputation in my mind after only experiencing San Francisco. I don’t think it’s much of a surprise to people who know me, but I don’t particularly like San Francisco. Knowing that, I thought New York would be similar for me. I was wrong about that. And even more wrong once we got to Chicago.


I’m kind of in love. Not that love-at-first-sight that Romeo and Juliet thought they had. More like, “Right now, I could see myself trying out a committed relationship with you, Chicago. I’m not entirely certain you’re the one for me, but I’m willing to give you a decent shot to win me over.” I didn’t say that out loud, of course. People would have thought I was weird.


First thing I did in the city was a visit to Navy Pier. I was expecting something like Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterrey. It was more like a small city out over the water. I’m also ashamed to admit that I had a momentary lapse in my geographical intelligence. I said something to the effect of “Boy, that Atlantic Ocean breeze sure smells nice!” Yes, brain: Lake Michigan is the same as the Atlantic Ocean.


After walking the pier, a group of us decided to brave the *lakeside* breeze for some outdoor dining at Bubba Gump: Chicago. We sat down, ordered drinks, ordered food, and then fun happened. You see, the breeze was just an overture to the gale force winds and searingly cold rain. Once our food came, we promptly got to-go containers and finished our food inside the indoor, heated, and dry McDonald’s. I finished off the evening with a chocolate haystack and a bit of chocolate pecan fudge from a quaint little chocolatier in the mall on the pier. Three words are sufficient to describe my experience: well worth it. All I can say is that I’m looking forward to tomorrow with great gusto.


Also, if you are free around 8 pm Central time, you can take a listen tot he performance at Millennium Park here! Hope it’s a good one!


Hey y’all. I’m in the south!


How can I tell? I had cafeteria barbecued chicken for dinner. And it was amazing. As for the dorms and the concert halls, I can’t honestly speak as highly. In fact, both were kind of depressing, and frankly I won’t be sad to leave for Chicago tomorrow.


On the bright side of things, we had a great concert, in my opinion. At least for me, I felt Pictures was the most musical I have played it, even though there were several technical aspects I would have liked to execute differently.


I dislike the idea of leaving the post short like this, but it’s midnight, and I need my sleepy time. I’ve been a bit loopy the past few days, and signs don’t show any improvement. A couple of nights ago, I couldn’t count to three. Bus 1, then bus 3,  then bus 2, right? That’s how numbers work.

Day I Don’t Even Know Any More: My Brain Has Taken a Total Vacation

Hello All. Sorry I didn’t post anything for the past couple of days. The tour REALLY started when we began moving a lot. And we moved a lot. I’m kind of over buses right now. Planes, though, I can do. Especially when they look like this:


I also have many photos that I am beginning to fall behind on. So here’s a sneak peak of some of what is to come in the next few days. (I’ll have a lot of time to look through photos on planes and upload them on buses [that have WiFi! Yeah 21st Century!])


That’s where I spent most of my time last Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, I shall sleep, but more on my adventures will be coming soon. Quite soon.

Day 18: A Bit Late Due to Technical Difficulties

Post-concert last night, we loaded the buses, unloaded a bus with broken tail lights, reloaded on the three remaining buses all 120 of us, then got stuck in construction traffic until 1:00 in the morning. Needless to say, I am sleepy right now. I’m also in a Starbucks writing this, and the smell of coffee is alluring even though I’ve never used coffee to wake myself up… Guess there’s a first time for everything?


Anywho, Carnegie Hall. That happened. And it happened in all the majestic glory one would expect. For one, the entire auditorium save the last few rows in the topmost balcony was filled. Filled. I think it’s reasonable to say that I’ve never played for that many people before in my life. What was even more phenomenal though, was the applause. To say that the crowd was enthusiastic would be a gross understatement. All hell broke loose after the last notes of Pictures. Not to mention the standing ovation we got at the end of the Symphonic Dances.


For me personally, it was an extremely humbling experience. I felt that my performance wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, but my mistakes were ones I felt much more comfortable with than those I made at our first concert. And f you’re going to mess up well, the way you’d like to mess up, I figure Carnegie Hall is the place to do just that.


On the other hand, there were points where I felt so immensely moved by what the orchestra as a whole was doing that I got swept up in the hype and exceeded my own expectations. The Great Gate was one of those instances, when I felt a fully raw and unparalleled depth of emotion exuded by the orchestra. I’ll admit. I cried a bit on stage.


More numerous than the few moments where I lost it, though, were the times when I just couldn’t stop smiling and laughing silently to myself, thinking, “Holy mother of concert halls. I’m playing a concert at Carnegie Hall.” If nothing else, I felt childish excitement and fascination crash over me in a way that I never have before in my life. That experience alone was enough to answer the question I’ve asked all my time doing this crazy art: “Why am I doing this, again?” Last night was why I do this.

Day 17: I<3NYC

Things I learned today:


1. New York drivers are crazy.

2. In New York, it is socially acceptable to drive so close to another moving vehicle that the passengers on board from the West Coast scream a little.

3. New York is very different from San Francisco.

4. There are more people walking around in Times Square than there are in Clovis (I’m fairly sure this isn’t hyperbole, but someone willing to fact-check might prove me wrong. Either way, there were a LOT of people.)

5. I hadn’t until today experienced traffic.

6. It is possible to unload a bus of 48 musicians on the wrong side of the road whilst warding off said traffic and massive deluges of people.

7. The above action is quite hectic for a suburban dweller like myself.

8. New York natives know exactly how long it takes to get from point A to point B despite said traffic.

9. Carnegie Hall looks tiny compared to the skyscrapers surrounding it.

10. The Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall is not nearly as deep as I thought it was.

11. But Carnegie Hall is the definition of awesome. It’s not just the hype. Gorgeous aesthetics and amazing acoustics perfectly balanced in the most compact little building in the largest city I’ve ever seen: that’s the definition of awesomeness.


Hope all is well in the rest of the world. I could honestly stay in NYC for a while. A long while. I really liked it. I kinda want to go back. And I shall tomorrow.


Speaking of which…. Listen live to the NYOUSA debut at Carnegie tomorrow evening at 8pm Eastern time! Link here.

Day 16: Wait. We Had Our First Concert Today?

You know what they say: time flies when you’re rehearsing the same six pieces with an orchestra five hours a day for two weeks straight. And now I find myself faced with a two-and-a-half-week tour and a seriously deep need for non-cafeteria food. I get some relief tomorrow. We’re going to the city (I’ll be in Times Square for the first time in my life! WOOT! Lot’s ‘o pictures will be coming!) and our particular group will be stopping in for a well-needed Chipotle lunch. Care of Carnegie Hall. I mean, come on. I’m going to NYC, playing in Carnegie Hall, and Carnegie Hall is even taking me to Chipotle. What is life.


As for the performance today, I felt fantastic. It was just the performance I’d have liked to do (proper tenses much? Meh. I’m not in school right now.). ( <–Plus punctuation sticklers could have a hay-day with that). We, or at least I, had a great time. Personally, I felt I succeeded musically in my execution. But overall, I feel the ensemble as a whole has some room to grow. I certainly know I do. I had plenty of ideas about things I’d like to do differently next time. The best part of it all, though, is that there is in fact a next time. And a next next time. And a next next next time. Seven more times. I see it as seven more times to have just as awesome of an experience as I had today, because in the end, it was a really phenomenal experience.


I decided to also celebrate the fact that it is evidently National Ice Cream Day by treating myself to some Ben and Jerry’s after the concert. The only tragic thing is that I have no place to put leftovers. Except the trash. Tragic, right?


So, concert today, sightseeing, soundcheck and Chipotle tomorrow, and then the NYOUSA Carnegie Hall Debut (and mine too!).


[PS for Grammarians: Yes, my Oxford comma placement/non-placement in that last sentence was entirely intentional. Hopefully my purpose is self-evident]


[PPS for Coders: It’s really annoying for me to go in and manually edit the HTML on these posts JUST so that I can get a dash. For a while I did it, but now I am feeling lazier than usual. Sorry in advance. It bugs the crap out of me, but my fingers get tired after a while.]

Day 15: Tour Tomorrow!

Ok. That’s kind of misleading. We actually don’t go anywhere tomorrow. All we do is our first concert, which is at Purchase College. Which, in all truthfulness is nothing to sneeze at. I mean, I’m about to play my first concert as a part of the National Youth Orchestra. That’s pretty stinking awesome.


I am now having a moment with my website. Evidently, something is amiss in the media upload world because all I get when I try to share a picture from today’s dress rehearsal is this:




Flip it, re-upload it: whatever I do, this is what I get. With this one picture. I haven’t the slightest clue. Then again, it’s 11:03 and I’m tired and I haven’t updated my software in a while. Maybe I should…


Regardless, the dress rehearsal went great. I had another moment during the rehearsal. It was a fluke. To y’all it would probably seem like a minor fluke. To me, it was the biggest fluke that fluked in flukeville (careful on my spelling there). I hadn’t properly checked my setup and as such missed an entrance. It was the end of the world.










Or perhaps not. I beat myself up for a while, but (sparing you once again the minute details about how my brain works), I ultimately came to an inspiring realization. Basically, nobody said anything. At all. Not even “Maracas, you missed your solo.” It. Was. Nothing. Realizing that I could release myself from the self-criticism that came along with the mistake, I think, was the most valuable lesson I’ve learned since I’ve been here. I experienced what I hope and feel is the epitome of professionalism despite my momentary mistake. Mistakes happen. People are human. It’s nice to have other people remind me of that sometimes so that I can give myself a break.


That being said, I’ll be checking three or four times to make sure the maracas are in place for tomorrow’s concert.


Day 14: What am I Even Doing Here?

I have started to think about this question with respect to both my current physical location and my current digital location. What am I experiencing, and what am I sharing? I’ll spare you the details of how I ended up at a particular conclusion and instead tell you a bit of a story.


There was a young man who played marimba. He wanted to play a duet with his friend Tyler. The two marimbists talked about playing together and decided they were going to play 2+1 by Ivan Trevino. Once the two were in New York together for the National Youth Orchestra, they began rehearsing together. The first marimbist felt a bit insecure because he felt that he was less prepared to play than Tyler was. This feeling continued all the way until the night of July 18th, when they were scheduled to play at the NYO chamber music concert. They played, the first marimbist (and I believe Tyler as well) had lots of fun, and that was that.


Our marimbist left the building to go back to the dorms and change out of the fancy-schmancy business casual clothes and get himself a celebratory Haagen-Dazs bar. As he was heading back to the theater to watch the rest of the concert, he remembered that he had wanted to grab his camera to take some pictures of the concert. This is where math happened.


Our marimbist figured he was about halfway between the performing arts center where the concert was going on and his room where his camera was sitting on the desk. He had two options: continue and forget about the camera, or turn back and miss more of the concert. While trying to weigh the pros and cons, something profound occurred to him.


End third person.


I realized, quite suddenly, something which stuck with me for the rest of the night, and actually ended up enjoying the concert quite a bit more because of it. This is going to be frank, but I think true. I’m here to be a part of the National Youth Orchestra, not to take pictures for my blog. Granted, I really REALLY enjoy the latter, and will continue to do it as a secondary purpose. But my first purpose is to have the experience for myself. THEN I share whatever I can with all of you. It didn’t matter that I could go back and miss more of the concert to get my camera. Since I wanted to see more of the concert, that’s what I did.


Basically, this was 400 words preparing to tell you that I don’t have any pictures from tonight to share with you (although I will be adding older pictures to my NYO gallery). I do have an audio recording from tonight and a video that a friend took. I’ll post that as soon as I have it all stitched together. For now, I’m going to go to bed and enjoy the fact that tomorrow, I can sleep in.