Viola Day Review

Now that Viola Day is behind me, I'm busy preparing for my Bartok concerto with the BSSO in a few weeks. Things definitely happen quickly around here! Even though I am still going at full tilt, I've had a little time to reflect on Viola Day and how it went.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out. There was a good flow from event to event, though if I do it again next year, I will definitely plan the day differently. We had a lot of concerts and masterclasses, so there wasn't a lot of audience interaction. The answers to the questionnaire I asked participants to fill out lead me to believe that Viola Choir was the favorite part of the day, and I only scheduled an hour for that.

So while not everyone was totally engaged the entire time, I am overall satisfied. Mike Chen's recital was phenomenal, and he had a unique way of describing concepts in his master class. I'm still thinking about the things he said and how to incorporate them into my own playing. I played well in my own mini recital, and had a really great time working with two students in my master class. Mark Braunstein of William Harris Lee & Company brought an impressive spread of violas and bows, and I think the participants really enjoyed playing these instruments and bows. It was fun to hear Mike Chen doodle on some of them too!

My favorite part of the day was the very opening... Last year Eleanor Trawick, who is a composer on faculty at BSU (and my friend), composed an Anthem for the Ball State University Viola Choir. Alexandra Hegedus,  a voice major who took secondary viola lessons with me last year, and this year is working with one of my graduate assistants, gave the inaugural singing rendition of the Anthem, and it was fantastic! Eleanor's words are so clever (see below), and hearing the piece with voice was a real treat. I'm so tickled that my zany idea of an anthem for my newly formed Viola Choir last year came to fruition in such a fantastically clever way. Here it is for your listening pleasure. I will upload more videos and photos as time allows, so stay tuned.

Until then, happy practicing!

Viola!

an anthem for the Ball State Viola Choir

music and lyrics by Eleanor Trawick

 

Charlie Cardinal said to Beneficence,

“There’s a new string ensemble in town;

It’s a choir of violas, the Frog Baby told us,

They play with a beautiful sound!”

Mid-American Conference, in central IN—

We’re the Ball State Viola Choir

From Emens to Sursa, from the Dean to the Bursar,

All applaud us and rave and admire. 

 

Refrain:

The viola is a musical gem—all composers and maestros agree—

From low to high, from soft to loud, from do right up to ti.

The viola plays the inner parts that are lovely in any key

The viola is the king of the strings. … And it has a low C!

 

The viola suites of J.S. Bach, 

The viola sonatas of Brahms,

The étude books of Lillian Fuchs—

We violists play all the best songs.

Felix Mendelssohn played the viola; 

So did Mozart and Britten and Bach,

Paganini, Lalo, Vaughan Williams, Milhaud, 

Hindemith, Schubert, Dvorak.

 

(Refrain)

 

Middle C’s in the middle of alto clef, 

Exactly where it should be.

The viola’s in charge, not too small nor too large,

It’s an axe of a high pedigree.

It blends with the cello, it blends with the bass.

It can double on all of the tunes.

The viola adorns the sound of the horns.

It is beautiful with the bassoons.

 

(Refrain)