The Orchestra Goes to the Movies

By chance, the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" popped up Sunday morning on some Dish channel that is listed on the screen but is too small to see with my old eyes.

Back in 1977 - a scant 40+ years ago - I was with a youth orchestra in Lexington, Ky that rehearsed on Saturday mornings from 9-12.  Once a month or so we would pre-plan for the members to bring a sack lunch and we would leave the Opera House rehearsal space, grab a bus and go to the movies at the mall. It was a buck and in they would wander, usually half the orchestra would go, sometimes nearly everyone, cello cases and all, and we would sit through a few cartoons and previews, munching away until the feature...Close Encounters being one that we saw.

I was always amazed that the parents trusted the entire enterprise...drop the kids off at the opera
house at the alley entrance and pick them up 7 hours later at a mall.  We didn't have chaperones although a few parents took the opportunity to go to the movies and sit in the back without having to wonder about where the kids were.

The next spring we toured around in Kentucky, two buses full, 106 musicians, and me plus a  couple sets of parents who drove their own cars to hear the concerts.  Overnights in motels, 7 concerts in 3 days, capped by a concert in the state capital with the governor.  Heady stuff.

The picture above reminded me of the movie.  The movie reminded me of those wonderful kids who were amazingly trustworthy, honest, and reliable.  Good players too; half of them destined for careers in music, almost all of them with the mindset that did and does honor to the art.  Then I thought of those performances, the bus trip tour, the friendships that the players formed in the midst of all that hubbub and to-do and retain to this day.

That's about it... stream of consciousness over for the day.....makes one tear up.