Meera Rao: On Top of the World

Photo: Brooks Wisniewski

Hello from The Netherlands! Half of the tour has passed in a chaotic blur, so it was nice to have a day to rest a little bit. At least, part of a day.

We spent what felt like forever on the bus, and after the hectic days that we made it through, no one could muster up the energy to do more than sit quietly and talk. No rap videos or hysterical laughing. We stopped for a quick restroom and snack break, and then hit the road again. After about 3 hours on the bus, we arrived at the Musis Sacrum.

Having seen pictures of the hall before, tour orchestra members excitedly unpacked their instruments and headed onstage. I was lucky enough to get onstage earlier than most people, and got to experience the astounding acoustics early on. Every tiny sound filled the hall, and it felt like I could play as long as I wanted and never get tired.

Once we filed into our seats, a musician named Antoinette got up and started to give us an engaging lecture. We were able to ask and answer questions about the informed playing of Baroque music, and we all learned a lot.

After Antoinette departed, we rehearsed and then went to dinner. While we are, it felt like the entire orchestra was preparing for the concert to come.

Finally, it was time to get on stage for the concert. The group had played together so much that we knew what to do. The first piece, The Moldau, passed in a blur, as did Black Swan. The Barber piece went smoothly as well, especially at the finale when it felt like the orchestra was on top of the world. Then, there was the intermission, and it was time for Carmen Fantasy. I myself was lucky enough to sit in the audience with some others while the rest of the orchestra played, and I will admit that I teared up at the beauty of my friends’ work. In fact, a tear or two may have fallen. Finally, it was time for the rest of the concert. The remaining pieces were each a success as well, and after two encores and four standing ovations (yes, I counted), there was an audible groan as the audience realized that the concert was over and that it was time for them to depart.

I am writing this on the bus to our new hotel in Utrecht, and I’m in awe of the amazing musicians in this orchestra. I feel as if we have conquered the world. With three thrilling concerts under our belts, isn’t it obvious that the final one will be the best of all?

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