Our orchestra performed our Labor Day concert at the park last night, and I didn't humiliate myself. In fact, I think I played fairly well. I had small solos in three or four numbers and the horn section in general had quite a few prominent parts. I'm not sure I led the others very well, but I at least played my own part correctly, most of the time. I screwed up Mendelssohn's Wedding March pretty well, but I'm sure the audience didn't notice.
When I play with this orchestra, my goal is to at least not miss a major entrance or hit the wrong note coming in, and I succeeded this time around. Of course it's important to watch the conductor for tempos, and sometimes he'll ask you to play softer or louder, but I watch him to get his reaction as well. When a soloist plays poorly, he'll scowl a bit or smile sympathetically. But if a soloist plays well, he'll beam and direct with such gusto you can't help but play with even more heart. Well, that's the reaction I have anyway.
When I first started learning to play the horn, I took occasional lessons from a woman who teaches children. She taught me on that level, the level of a ten year old, and I was so grateful for her patience. She plays trumpet in the orchestra, and during the intermission, she told me how well I was playing and said, I "really stepped up" to the job. That meant the world to me and I think gave me permission to play confidently in the second half, just in time for a medley from Phantom of the Opera with lots of little solos and bold horn calls that aren't well suited to timid players.
So, while I did not play the entire concert perfectly and basically sat out for about half of Stars and Stripes Forever (shhh, don't tell the conductor), I was pleased. I'm glad the whole thing is over, but I'm also glad I got the chance to be acting principal at least once. I think it will make me a more confident player when I get my regular seat back in the fall.
On another note, happy Labor Day to everyone. I'll spend the evening at an Indian's game in Cleveland. I'm not a big baseball fan, but I do enjoy the spectacle at the stadium. Eustacia's college marching band will be playing the National Anthem before the game, so we'll at least see her from a distance.