By Amy Kathleen Miller

This Saturday night, June 2, I am playing in a concert with the West Valley Symphony of Utah, and I am excited to be performing with them except for the solo that I will be singing.  That makes me a little nervous, but I will probably do fine.  I have been taking voice lessons for a very long time.  My voice is at least a three-octave range, it is actually higher but it’s three octaves at least.  I am proud of my accomplishments, I want to start really using my voice and having it heard more.

However, I joined the symphony to help my violin playing get better and stronger.  I am not trying to get to the point of playing my violin at the same level my voice is at, but performing in a symphony is a fun way to build up more skills only to progress into a better position as a private music teacher.  I have to keep up with new techniques to perform better and teach my students better.  Besides, the techniques that I learn are probably going help my students along because they will run into it also and I can be a better instructor for it.

The West Valley Symphony of Utah, led by Donny Gilbert, in concert. (Photo Courtesy West Valley Symphony of Utah website)

Now, back to the performance on Saturday night.  I will give you a taste of the songs that we will be performing that night.

“Land Race” is a song written by John Williams for the movie “Far and Away.”  You see the characters racing a great distance on their horses or with a horse-drawn wagon running the horses full gallop until they come to a piece of land where they think they want that particular land as their own.  This is a fun song to listen to, but I have to share a pet peeve I have in many movies.  Horses can’t run at full speed for that great a distance as they are portrayed in movies.  They are like people and can only run for a certain distance and that is all.  However, with that said, horses can trot for many miles because trotting is not as fast as a full gallop but the horse can handle it.

Another piece we will be performing is “Once Upon A Time In The West.”  I happen to be singing in this piece.  In the next video, you can hear the vocalist singing and that will be me the night of the performance.  The arrangement of the song on YouTube seems a little different in the arrangement than it does in the one we will actually be performing ourselves.  I actually hit a higher pitch than this lady does in this song.  But enjoy!

Here is another song that we will be performing, “Ashokan Farewell,” from the soundtrack of the PBS series “The Civil War.”  Many individuals have heard this song and say they absolutely love it.  It is a very beautiful piece that is played along with a love letter being read.  Very moving, I might add.  However, it is arranged for a symphony setting but I couldn’t find a video like that.  So just imagine a symphony behind it instead of the simple guitar.

I love playing “The Trail Of Butch And Sundance,” but it was written by Donny Gilbert — our orchestra conductor — so it is not on YouTube.  It is a very complicated piece, but I like it just the same.  I can play the majority of it.  But the part I don’t know, I just fake it really well and who will know the difference?

“American Overture” is another piece that we will play, and I love performing this song.   I can play the majority of this one and feel quite comfortable with it.  I hope you can enjoy it too, except the sample that I am letting you listen to is for a band and, of course, we are a symphony that has strings in it.

“John Henry” by Aaron Copland is another one that I have grown to love because I just love Copland’s music.  He is one of my favorite composers.  Listen for the sounds of the building of railroad tracks and you can even hear the train coming down the tracks with the wheels squealing.

“Last Of The Mohicans” is so fun to play as well as listen to.  I can play this one very well on the violin, the notes are extremely high but I have learned those notes and the position well.  Our percussion section ndoes a phenomenal  job on this song, I love a song with good percussion.  We only play the first piece, just under three minutes.  I hope you enjoy it too, it is exactly how it would sound if we played it.

There are more songs, but I just wanted to give you a taste of what our symphony is going to sound like, and feel free to wish me luck on my singing part.  Maybe I can talk my son into recording it so you could see me performing it yourself.

I have been practicing my violin since I was moved into the first violin section and I am doing quite well.  I am now glad that I am in this section of the symphony after all.  Maybe the good Lord thought that I should be in this section for a reason.

Editor’s Note:  “Amy’s Angle” is a weekly Wednesday feature in this blog.

Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media


4 thoughts on “AMY’S ANGLE — Getting ready to play and sing

  1. These musical selections are all awesome. I just saw John’s post with excerpts from the concert, and it sounded great, including your solo! 🙂 I also love Copland. I think if any one composer could turly portray America’s landscape, people, history and spirit through music, it’s him.

    1. I agree, I love Aaron Copland he was an awesome composer. I love to listen to Hoedown on youtube. I also love to sing his songs but I have never done them to record.

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