The last month has been pretty hectic, both personally and musically. We drove back to New Jersey to dive straight into Nutcracker upon Nutcracker performance. I had never played the Nutcracker until this season, and I'm looking forward to playing it for many years to come each December...
I played the full orchestral version for a week of shows, and a reduction with two horns for one show elsewhere. I hadn't realized what a chop buster the Nutcracker was, especially with the reduced orchestration. I played third horn in the full version, and after so much time on fourth horn I was not ready to sit on third space C# for 3 hours. I did have some little solo moments to enjoy, and the section came together to support each other through the tiring passages. A single bar to get the mouthpiece off your face makes a big difference for endurance.
Playing second in the reduction was interesting after a week on the full version, the parts aren't always distributed the way one would expect... Playing third horn solos on a second part didn't seem quite right, there was even a moment when the second horn was written to play a fifth higher than the first. Talk about questioning yourself! I really thought I had lost my mind when I found myself playing D to the principal's middle G.
Regardless, the shows put me in the Christmas spirit. I love playing ballet; it's like the best of both the pit and symphonic orchestra worlds. We get to play beautiful music, and while it's important for the conductor to keep the dancers and orchestra together, it's different than dealing with vocalists. My only complaint is that I want a monitor for every show, I always want to see what the dancers are doing!
In the midst of all this, the holiday season was upon me, with the added bonus of a leaking roof. So I got to move in the middle of playing, visiting family and starting a trial job with the company that runs WordPress.com.
The good news is, I survived and am in South Carolina on my way to Miami for the next concert series with Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Symphony. It's been getting incrementally warmer each time I stop for gas, the tropical breezes aren't too far from me now.
Once I have a moment to catch my breath, I'll be posting some new audition listings for the new year.